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No online food order in Punjab without hygiene rating

1,June, 2019
 

Setting three months deadline, the Punjab Government on Thursday directed all the online food order and supply companies to display the hygiene ratings of all the Food Business Operators registered or affiliated with them.

Moving ahead on the quality food assurance agenda of Tandrust Punjab Mission, the directions were issued by the state Health and Family Welfare Minister Brahm Mohindra giving them three months for compliance. The Minister said that after 90 days of issuance of formal communiqué in this regard, “no online food order is to be delivered in the State without hygiene rating”.

Giving details, the state Food and Drug Administration Commissioner-cum-Tandrust Punjab Mission director KS Pannu said that Online Food Order and Supply Companies take online orders from the consumers for the supply of food and deliver the same after procuring it from the food business operators (FBO’s) associated with them.

“Under the normal circumstances, the consumer directly approaches the FBOs and therefore, through primary contact, the consumer is aware about the quality of food and the hygienic condition under which food is prepared or served,” he said adding that 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. It is in this context that it has been decided on the directions of Health Minister that all the online food orders or delivery companies shall ensure that FBOs registered or affiliated with them have their hygiene rating done from the FSSAI empanelled companies,” he said.

Pannu, divulging into the details of the rating mechanism, said that hygiene rating on a scale of five smilies is undertaken 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 FBOs.

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.

“Commissionerate has issued a formal letter to them wherein they have been directed to get the hygiene rating done of all the FBOs registered with them and only those operators who are at higher level of hygiene rating (bearing three or more smilies), should be allowed to supply food under the online food orders or delivery mechanism,” he said.

Pannu added that 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 informed decision before placing the online order for food delivery.

Date of rating or inspection is also to be mentioned in the page containing details about the food making unit on the company’s website or portal or 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.

It has been mandated that the packaging, in which delivery of food is done to the consumer by the Online Food Order and Supply Companies, 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.

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