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FSSAI directs e-commerce entities to debar non-licensed FBOs

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Following a series of complaints related to sub-standard food being supplied by food businesses listed on e-Commerce food service platforms, FSSAI has directed 10 such platforms to debar the non-FSSAI licensed/registered food operators and ensure compliance of food safety rules and regulations. The current list includes Box8, Faasos, FoodCloud, Foodmingo, Foodpanda, JusFood, LimeTray, Swiggy, UberEats and Zomato.

In February 2018, FSSAI operationalized guidelines for e-Commerce Food Business Operators (FBOs) which, inter alia, provided for display of FSSAI license number of listed FBOs on eCommerce platforms and an agreement between the e-Commerce platforms and FBOs to comply with the FSS Act, Rules and Regulations.

However, FSSAI noted with serious concern that the compliance to these guidelines was patchy and there were complaints of restaurants/hotels without FSSAI license being listed and allowed to offer/sell food products on e-commerce food service platforms.

There were also several complaints of sub-standard food being delivered to consumers through online market aggregators Food Authority, in its direction to e-Commerce food service platforms has asked them to initiate immediate action to delist the defaulting food businesses and submit an action taken report along with details of FBOs listed on their platforms by 31st July 2018.

They have also been directed to furnish their FSSAI License, agreement signed with FBOs and their internal checks to ensure that their FBOs hold valid FSSAI Licenses.

While consumers will welcome this new move – which aims to increase food safety – for online food platforms, it is time to work harder to ensure compliance as soon as possible with this new legal framework.

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