CHANDIGARH: Punjab is going to ban online delivery of food without hygience rating, state government announced on Thursday.
Commissioner Food and Drug Administration and Director of 'Tandrust Punjab Mission', KS Pannu while speaking with the media said that the online food order and supply companies take orders from the consumers and deliver the same after procuring it from the Food Business Operators (FBOs) associated with them.
Under normal circumstances, he said, the consumer directly approaches the Food Business Operator and therefore, through primary contact, the consumer is aware about the food quality and the hygienic condition under which it is prepared and served. The online order and delivery mechanism of food supply has created a physical disconnect between the consumer and the food maker.
“Hence the onus of ensuring the quality of food and the hygienic condition under which food is prepared, has shifted to the intermediate food delivery mechanism,” said Pannu.
It is in this context that it has been decided on the directions of state Health Minister that all the online food orders delivery companies shall ensure that FBOs registered with them have their hygiene rating done from the FSSAI empanelled companies.
Divulging the details, he said that hygiene rating will be done on a scale of five as per the guidelines of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). The National Food authority has empanelled 23 companies to conduct the audit and hygiene rating of FBO's. He said that a meeting has been held with the representatives of major Online Food Order and Supply Companies operational in Punjab like Zomato, Swiggy, Uber Eats and Food Panda and they have been sensitized on the issue.
The Commissionerate in a formal letter have directed them to get the hygiene rating done of all the FBO's registered with them and those operators who are at a higher level of hygiene rating (bearing 3 or more smilies), will be allowed to supply food under the online food orders/delivery mechanism. They have also been told that the website of their companies should contain the details regarding hygiene rating of the food establishments registered with them so that consumer is empowered to take an informed decision before placing the order. Date of rating/inspection should also be mentioned in the page containing details about the food making unit on the company’s website/portal/App.
Besides, the periodical inspection of their registered or affiliated FBOs is to be ensured so that they continue to follow hygiene standards in food preparation and service practices.
Last but not the least, it has been mandated that the packaging in which delivery of food is done, should bear prominent information with regard to the status of hygiene rating of the unit supplying the food for delivery to the consumer, said Pannu.
Brahm Mohindra, Health Minister Punjab has directed all the Online Food Order and Supply Companies to display the hygiene rating of all the Food Business Operators registered/affiliated with them. Giving three months for compliance, Mohindra said, “No online food order is to be delivered in the State without hygiene rating.”