Leading e-commerce food service providers like Swiggy, Zomato, Foodpanda, UberEats and others will soon come under an extensive inspection by India’s food regulator. As the number of people ordering food online continues to rise in India, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has become extremely alert about the standard of food being delivered through these e-commerce platforms, and whether or not they have obtained an FSSAI license. Taking the issue of food quality seriously, the FSSAI is planning a large-scale audit of these firms in September, CNBC TV18 reported citing sources.
The audit by FSSAI will be an assessment of the information technology systems of the food delivery platforms and review of enrolling and listing procedures, the report said. The food regulator will also do a status check on the compliance of the food business operators (FBOs) or delivery platforms with regulations. According to the report, defaulters may be imprisoned for up to three years or imposed penalties of up to Rs five lakh.
According to the FSSAI, despite guidelines operationalised for e-commerce FBOs in February 2018, several complaints were received by the food regulator with respect to sub-standard food being delivered through these platforms. In late July, the FSSAI had directed leading e-commerce food service providers like Swiggy, Zomato, Foodpanda, UberEats and others to de-list non-FSSAI licensed food business from their platform by 31st July, 2018 after receiving consumer complaints of sub-standard food being served through e-commerce platforms.
In a statement, the food regulator said that the aggregators were advised to display FSSAI license number on their platform along with name and location of the restaurants. However, in a review meeting held earlier in August, FSSAI found that some of the leading food aggregators were operating without FSSAI License or registration.
“Further, it was noted by the Regulator that more than 30-40% of listed food businesses by these e-Commerce aggregators are un-licensed or un-Registered. In many cases, listed food businesses have recently applied for FSSAI License/Registration but still do not possess them,” the FSSAI said in a statement dated August 1. The food regulator had given time of two-weeks to these food aggregators to submit an action plan to de-list un-licensed/un-registered food businesses.