FSSAI has issued revised guidelines and plans increased monitoring of food safety and delivery standards by e-commerce firms.
After tweaks in the e-commerce policy, it is time for food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato and e-grocery firms like Grofers and BigBasket to face the heat of regulation. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has introduced revisions in its guidelines that could directly impact these firms as reported in the Economic Times.
The guidelines pertain to delivery and safety of food products by e-commerce food companies. The products can be now sampled at any stage in the supply chain. Companies will be required to provide an indicative image of the product on their platforms for easy recognition by customers.
Additionally, firms are required to provide all the information as mandated under the Food Safety and Standards Act and only deliver fresh food to their customers with a remaining shelf life of at least 30% or 45 days. The delivery should only be managed by trained personnel with no compromise on quality.
The guidelines are part of directives that have been issued by FSSAI to re-operationalise licensing and registration of these companies. According to FSSAI Chief Executive Mr Pawan Agarwal, “These guidelines will help in building confidence in the ecommerce food business sector and increase its credibility.”
The total food and grocery market in India is pegged at US$ 400 billion. According to a report by Crisil, online food and grocery is expected to register the fastest growth rate in online retail, nearly quadrupling over three years to a size of Rs 10,000 crore.
In response to the new norms, Albinder Dhindsa, CEO, Grofers, said to ET, “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.”