PETALING JAYA: Food operators can only use newspapers as a second layer to wrap food to avoid ink contamination from the newspaper, the Health Ministry reiterated in a statement today. Its director-general Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said the ministry found that some food operators are still using newspapers as the first layer of packaging or using it to soak up excess oil from cooked food. He said food operators are allowed to use newspapers to wrap up their food, provided they line the packages with another layer first. He said packing materials such as plastic sheets or banana leaves should be used as the first layer to cover the food. Noor Hisham said when using newspapers to wrap food, contamination can happen when the food handler touches the newspaper first and then the food. Under Rule 35, the Food Hygiene Regulations 2009, an operator shall handle food and use utensils and food containers without direct contact with any object or substance that can contaminate the food. In addition, under Rule 36, food operators who prepare or serve food commercially must ensure the packaging materials are non-toxic and are strong enough to prevent tearing and leakages. Those convicted of such an offence is liable to a fine not exceeding RM10,000.00 or a jail term of not more than two years.