Why has FSSAI directed the e-commerce sites to delist unlicensed food-operators?
Since the dawn of the 21st century, India has witnessed full-fledged globalisation of the economy. In general, it has been noticed that the buying trends are being now influenced by the global quality and safety benchmarks, rather than being swayed by the rat race or changing fads. When it comes to food products, it can never be negated that food and health safety is now a key concern for today’s aware consumer of this globalized era.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) that acts as a facilitator, as well as a regulator for the food business operators across India, has made it mandatory for the leading e-commerce food aggregators to exclude the restaurants and food businesses that do not have FSSAI Registration or FSSAI license.
Presently, 2 weeks have been granted to the e-commerce sites to delist all unlicensed and unregistered restaurants & dealers. Besides, FSSAI is planning to conduct an audit of all food e-commerce mediators to check their compliance levels by reviewing their FSSAI license documents and FSSAI renewal processes.
On one of their food-trips, the great gourmands Rocky & Mayur were discussing this recent case, when Rocky asked his pal the reason behind FSSAI’s decision.
#1. Why did FSSAI decide to take such action against unlicensed & unregistered restaurants?
Mayur: Recently, the FSSAI had conducted a review meeting with 10 food aggregators in India—
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They revealed that nearly 30-40% of restaurants listed on these platforms neither had food license nor had applied for FSSAI online Registration. The online platforms were directed to delist all such restaurants from its portals.
To this, Rocky questioned again-
#2. Why should unlicensed & unregistered restaurants be removed from the food portals?
Mayur: Buddy, mostly the epicures like us rely on the big names listed above for booking a restaurant or a lodge. To much extent, if such reputed portals tend to offer services through the unlicensed restaurants, it will mislead the customers and will impact wastage of money.
Moreover, it can even result in a serious damage to health and life if you land up booking unreliable or unhealthy surroundings in a new city.
#3. What has prompted FSSAI to take such strict action?
Mayur: FSSAI had repeatedly got complaints from the consumers regarding substandard food being delivered through e-commerce portals. As a result, the food regulator had set July 31 as the deadline for these companies to remove such unreliable and unregistered dealers from their portals.
However, now they have been granted 2 more weeks to implement the decision.
#4. How will this decision benefit the food operators?
Mayur: According to the FSSAI officials, this regulatory action is a part of a special drive for ensuring compliance with food safety rules by all food-operators. This will gradually bring all food aggregators and food operators under the ambit of FSSAI Registration, which will, in turn, compel them to take food safety concerns seriously.
#5. How effective will this measure be?
Mayur: There is no doubt that this significant decision is going to enforce food safety norms on all food-operators from a regulatory standpoint.
Rocky: Yeah….no doubt! Regulations are meant to be preserved in files…. No wonder how easily are they forgotten over time.
Mayur: No buddy! This time it’s not so simple. According to a spokesperson for Swiggy, a compliance plan for all restaurant partners of Swiggy is underway, which will ensure that there is no flout of norms among them.
He has added-
“We are soon to collaborate with renowned third-party agencies to install a support system and help accelerate this plan for them.”
Taking a big bite of the burger, Rocky asked-
#6. What are the criteria to apply for FSSAI Registration/Food License?
Mayur: The criteria for applying for the FSSAI Registration or the FSSAI License depends upon the turnover and the type of business activity.
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