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Currency notes likely to cause diseases: Food safety authority

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued a warning that currency notes and coins can cause infection and diseases. The unhygienic and careless handling of currency notes and coins is the reason for infection. The FSSAI has directed the food safety commissioners to organize programmes to educate the public about the same. Vegetable vendors, cleaning staff, butcher shop workers, fish sellers and many others carry pollutants to the notes and coins unknowingly, causing formation of microbes. Counting notes using saliva, holding notes between lips and similar careless handling of money leads the microbes to enter the body and cause diseases.

The germs multiply in notes and currencies under unhygienic circumstances. It is not advisable to handle money and food at the same time, especially in hotels. Wearing gloves while handling food can help reduce chances of contamination. These gloves should not be used while touching money. It is always best to wash hands before touching food after handling money, and vice versa.

Various studies have expressed grave concern over both bacterial and fungal contamination of currency. These are all the more dangerous because many of the pathogens on them are multi-drug-resistant strains. These studies bring to light, the imperative need to ensure that hotels, hospitals, school and office canteens, restaurants, street food stalls, shops selling bakery products, and even those preparing food for midday meals and religious places do not contaminate food with currency either at the time of preparation or at the time of sale or distribution.

Divya Patwal


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