Honestly, “your food is on its way” is one of the happiest notification that a food aggregator app can send to their customers. These food aggregator apps like Swiggy, Zomato, UberEats, and Foodpanda are an excellent means to provide the best quality cuisine to people in remote locations. The online orders and great reviews have increased the outreach of the restaurants and have shot up their revenues.
However, it would be unfortunate if a restaurant would lose valuable customers because of unsafe standards of food. FSSAI(Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) has instructed the major food delivery services to delist restaurants not having FSSAI license. This directive was issued in July of 2018.
The issue of the food safety arose because of the increasing complaints from customers about the sub-standard and potentially health-endangering food. After the recent FSSAI instructions, it has become necessary for the restaurants to avoid unsafe ingredients, unhygienic preparation environment, and improper handling of food items. Failing to do so, will lead to cancellation of their FSSAI license, and they’ll lose a huge client base from apps like Zomato, Swiggy, UberEats and, Foodpanda.
In the quest for providing a comprehensive list of available food outlets to customers, these food delivery apps register most of the restaurants on their respective platforms without checking for appropriate FSSAI licenses. However, this methodology is undergoing a massive change with the directive from FSSAI.
Zomato, one of the top food delivery apps in India has taken proactive measures and already delisted dozens of restaurants from its platforms. CEO of Zomato Deepinder Goyal has assured that these restaurants will be back on their platform once they have their FSSAI licenses. Zomato has also taken measures to help their highest-valued restaurants with inappropriate FSSAI registration by requesting a deadline extension. The previous deadline was set as July 31 but has now been extended to end of September.
Swiggy was not far behind, with the food delivery app de-listing many unregistered restaurants from their platform as well. Swiggy however, was also extremely helpful towards restaurants when they set up FSSAI assist programs to help these institutions acquire their FSSAI licensing.
Food safety cannot be taken lightly. Unsafe and unhygienic food could be a health hazard and may even lead to mass epidemics. FSSAI has ensured disgruntled customers of the food-delivery apps that more than 90-95% of businesses will be compliant with their food safety standards by the end of September 2018. Currently, an estimated 30-40% of the restaurants on these platforms appear to be in non-compliance with the directive for acquiring FSSAI license.
The regulatory body of FSSAI has also employed the services of an external audit-firm to help with carrying out safety checks across the restaurants listed in the food-delivery platforms. FSSAI has also requested for the likes of Swiggy, Zomato to integrate hygiene ratings in their platforms. Swiggy has replicated the understanding of the gravity of the situation by deploying the services of Equinox Labs, an FSSAI accredited food-auditing firm. As of this day, Swiggy and Zomato have 40,000 and 50,000 restaurants respectively under their platforms which could result in over-extension in the time frame of applying this policy, but one thing is for sure the government will not put up with unsafe food practices or platforms that help in the sale of such products.
The author is presently working as a content writer with LegalRaasta.