The online food order delivery company Zomato’s Dehradun office has been served with a notice by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) asking Zomato to obtain a food license to continue its operations. This notice was issued to the company after a visit by the Nagar Nigam officials in the capital city of Uttarakhand and FSSAI has cited “The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006”, particularly Section 31.
The operative sentence from the statute quoted by the regulator is “no person shall commence or carry on any food business except under a licence”. Now, it is reported that Zomato had taken the plea that they are in the business of preparation of the food but only in making the deliveries. But this was not accepted by FSSAI saying since Zomato takes responsibility for the last mile delivery of the food they would necessarily be covered under the Act. They have cited the safety aspect of the food being delivered to the customers.
The Nagar Nigam has gone one step further and has asked Zomato to submit the list of manufacturers of the food items they are delivering along with their food licence details. What’s more, the health certificates of each and every employee engaged in making the deliveries to the customers have also been demanded from Zomato by FSSAI. A week’s time has been allowed to them to provide these details.
FSSAI had been observing the online food order delivery model closely and the regulatory authority’s CEO had made comments to the effect that their emphasis is on ensuring that those engaged in making deliveries at the customers’ end receive appropriate training and there is no compromise made as far as the safety of the food is concerned, between the time it is picked up from a licenced producer of the food and the time it reaches the hands of the end consumers.