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Zomato’s New Food Quality Policy Prompts Restaurant Worries

Zomato’s New Food Quality Policy Prompts Restaurant Worries

The policy will be effective from April 18

Under the new food quality policy, Zomato may temporarily disable online ordering from restaurants upon receiving consumer complaints about the quality of the food

Zomato will investigate complaints to examine the authenticity of the issues raised

Food delivery platform Zomato has reportedly introduced a new food quality policy to ensure a safe and healthy experience for customers. The policy will be effective from April 18.

Under the new food quality policy, Zomato may temporarily disable online ordering from restaurants if it receives consumer complaints about the quality of food. As per the email advisory issued on Wednesday, “Any complaint raised by an end customer regarding the quality of food or beverage, which can potentially cause serious harm to the customer’s health or well-being, will be classified as ‘severe food quality complaint,” ET reported.

Zomato will investigate complaints to examine the authenticity of the issues raised, the food delivery platform said. Moreover, the restaurants will have to undergo a third-party, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) approved inspection to resume their service on Zomato. However, the course of action in any such cases will be decided depending on the nature of the complaint.

“ (With) more and more restaurants and food entities joining online ordering, we felt it was crucial to formalise a framework that would safeguard the interests of both our restaurant partners and customers,” a Zomato representative said as quoted by ET.

Serving pre-packaged food items that have reached expiry date, the wrong type of food, non-vegetarian food in place of vegetarian food order fall under the list of actionable complaints. 

Further, the presence of hazardous foreign objects in food, delivering rotten food or fungus, will also be treated as actionable complaints.

National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) is reportedly drafting a letter to Zomato to bring changes in its newly introduced policy. The association is of the view that the Deepinder Goyal-led company is overstepping as it is not the authorised entity to investigate restaurants.

NRAI members have also questioned the process of investigating a complaint based on photos, while photos can be manipulated easily.

In 2017, Zomato introduced Food Hygiene Ratings for restaurants listed on the platform. At the time, the Gurugram-based company said it would only act as an organiser of these Food Hygiene Ratings for the industry. “We do not believe that we are the experts in food hygiene, therefore, we will work with accredited third party auditors,” it said.

Against the backdrop of the latest food safety policy, NRAI executives have also alleged that the policy is being introduced without consultation with the restaurants. It is not the first time that Zomato and NRAI are at loggerheads over an issue.

Earlier this month, the Competition Commission of India (CCI), ordered a probe into the conduct of foodtech platforms, Zomato and Swiggy, a year after NRAI approached the antitrust watchdog seeking a probe into the two platforms.