HYDERABAD: Almost half of the food safety and quality-related complaints being received by food safety officials in the city are related to food ordered online, through the delivery applications. Food safety officials say that applications like Swiggy or Zomato need to strengthen their mechanism in ensuring that only quality food is delivered to their customers. Officials from the Institute of Preventive Medicine, which also houses the Telangana FSSAI office, say that more than 50 per cent of the complaints from the city are about food ordered via online delivery applications.
While action is usually taken directly against the restaurant if inquiry by GHMC reveals discrepancies, officials claim that the fault lies with the delivery service too who are bound to check and monitor the restaurants themselves. Moreover, many of the penalised restaurants continue to be listed on the food delivery applications.
Speaking to Express, Dr K Shankar, director of the Institute of Preventive Medicine said, “Every month we get 15-20 complaints from the consumers, out of which 8-10 are screen shots of their online orders through applications.”
Another senior official on condition of anonymity said, “We cannot take any direct action against the food delivery apps. But they are also supposed to have proper monitoring mechanism of the restaurants that they list. Moreover, the conditions in which these food delivery apps deliver the food also is very unhygienic. The heat insulated bags are not washed, cleaned or disinfected for days together.”
He further said “None of the restaurants that are penalised are also delisted from these delivery service apps.” As per official information, the State has a sanctioned strength of 58 Food Safety Officers but presently has only five officers.
At the district level, of sanctioned 12 District Food Safety Designated Officers, there are only nine though there is a need to increase the numbers as districts have increased to 33.