It seems that with the growth of food and grocery segments in online space, the government is tightening its leash on the companies operating in the ecosystems so as to ensure consumers’ health and safety is not at risk.
In the latest series of events, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has revised the guidelines directly regulating the functioning of food and grocery delivery companies like Zomato, Swiggy, Gofers, and BigBasket.
There are five new rules that are expected to make an impact on the industry.
Firstly, the government can now at any time in the last mile delivery supply chain sample a product to check quality.
Second, the companies have a mandatory obligation to provide with unambiguous indicative images of the products on food and grocery platforms to facilitate recognition to the consumers.
Third, all the mandatory information listed in the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSS) has to transparently provided to the consumer before the transaction is completed.
Fourth, the companies and the vendors listed on the platforms can only sell fresh food and products.
Last but not the least, the products sold via the platforms, food and grocery, both have to have a shelf life of 30 per cent or 45 days before expiry, at the time of delivery.
All these guidelines, not only favour the health and safety of consumers, but also protect their rights and provide a safeguard against exploitation.
The major startups in both segments have positively responded to the new guidelines while simultaneously maintaining that they have already been following the safety and hygiene standards.
Grofers’ CEO, Albinder Dhindsa told ET that they have been compliant with the shelf life and last mile delivery guidelines and have also made sure that the merchant partners also follow the same.
Zomato spokesperson expresses agreement and compliance by postulating how the company has delisted “thousands” of restaurant partners for not maintaining safety and hygiene standards.
The significance of these guidelines further enhances after the recent Zomato incident where a delivery boy was recorded eating food out of the delivery boxes.