In a major development that would directly impact online food and grocery players such like Grofers and BigBasket as well as food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has issued revised guidelines. FSSAI has said that it is increasing the scrutiny of e-commerce food companies to ensure the last-mile delivery and safety of food products.
As per the norms, in the supply chain, food products offered for sale are liable to sampling. Moreover, for the better recognition of food by the customers, the companies will have to provide an indicative image of the food on their platform. The Economic Times reported that the companies will have to provide all the mandatory information as per the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act. The food delivery players will have to make sure that only fresh food is delivered to consumers.
"With increasing use of e-commerce platforms by consumers, the guidelines are aimed at stepping up vigilance on the safety of food provided to consumers. These guidelines will help in building confidence in the e-commerce food business sector and increase its credibility," FSSAI chief executive Pawan Agarwal said. Notably, the revised guidelines are part of directives issued by the regulator to re-operationalise licensing and registration of e-commerce food companies.
Industry welcomes move
The food delivery industry has welcomed the move by the food regulator, saying that they will comply with all the regulatory guideline issued by FSSAI.
Online grocery startup Grofers' chief executive Albinder Dhindsa urged the FSSAI to enforce these guidelines on the merchant partners. "While we are compliant with all regulatory guidelines such as last-mile delivery and shelf life, we also ensure that our merchant partners follow the same. We don't work with merchants who don't have the necessary compliance. That is a challenge that the regulator has to enforce," he said. The guidelines have said that before the expiry time of the delivery, food should have a remaining shelf life of 30% or 45 days.