The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has asked 10 online food delivery platforms to debar food business operators (FBOs) that don’t have a license obtained from the regulator. India’s food regulator issued the order in the wake of a series of complaints related to sub-standard food being supplied by food businesses listed on the platforms.
The FSSAI order is also aimed at ensuring that FBOs listed on platforms — Box8, Faasos, FoodCloud, Foodmingo, Foodpanda, JusFood, LimeTray, Swiggy, UberEats and Zomato — comply with the food safety rules and regulations. The food authority has asked these platform to submit a report on action taken against non-licensed FBOs along with their details by July 31, 2018.
They have also been directed to furnish their FSSAI License, agreement signed with FBOs and their internal checks to ensure that their FBOs hold valid FSSAI Licenses, the notice said.
The FSSAI in February 2018 issued guidelines which mandated ecommerce FBOs to provide their license number obtained from the regulator. The FSSAI order on Monday noted with serious concern against restaurants and hotels which have not yet obtained the license and are selling food products on online food service platforms.
Food business operators can apply online for the registration and licensing through an FSSAI’s online application system. It firsts asks FBOs to sign-up with the FSSAI using email and mobile number to create a unique user ID, which is valid for 30 days. FBOs need to make sure that they apply online within 30 days.
According to 2018 RedSeer Consulting report, number of daily orders from online food delivery platforms reported 15% growth on a quarterly basis from January to September, last year. In the September quarter, self-deliveries grew to 56% of the total number of orders done by the food-tech sector in India. Average daily orders grew to 400K in the three months to Sep 2017. In-house deliveries stood at 46% per cent in the fourth quarter of 2016.
The report estimated that India’s food-tech sector is set to grow at a similar pace in 2018 as well. It further noted, “It is time to work harder to ensure compliance as soon as possible with this new legal framework.”
Consumers are likely to welcome the latest move by the FSSAI, which aims to increase food safety for online food platforms.
Update 1 (23 July, 2:10 pm IST) Post publishing this news we got following response from Zomato spokesperson:
“We are fully supportive of FSSAI’s intentions to make the restaurant industry safer for consumers. In this regard, we launched hygiene rating services for restaurants in late 2017, and have already conducted audits at more than 2,000 restaurants in India. Most users check restaurant’s Zomato rating before they visit or order from a new restaurant. Our core reviews and ratings platform helps users get a voice – through ratings/reviews and has democratised the quality audit of food being served by a restaurant. There is so much more than can be done, and various stakeholders in the industry, including the FSSAI, are fully aligned and deeply care for making India a better and safer place to eat.”