New Delhi: Soon after the coronavirus-induced lockdown was announced, a number of home kitchens and homemade food delivery services started working in the country to provide door-step service to people. As hostels and restaurants were closed during the lockdown, many people across the country turned to these online catering and food delivery services for home-delivered food. Also Read - Gapoon aim for maintenance in 125 city hotels by March 2018
But, as the unlock process has started in the country and the Central government has announced unlock 5 guidelines, it seems the business of these online catering and food delivery services will come to an end. Also Read - Maggi, real-estate law dominates consumer issues
According to media reports, the State Food Safety Department has recently issued a fine of Rs 5 lakh and even six months jail term for online catering and food delivery services which are unregistered and are selling home-cooked meals without holding any valid licence. Notably, the new rules are part of the norms of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI). Also Read - We want to test 31 more Maggi noodle samples: Government
Even though it was good for many during the lockdown period to order food online and getting it at doorstep, the problem, however, was with the lack of safety guidelines and precautions carried out by these home cooks. This aspect probably made the State Food Safety Department to issue such a notification.
As per the FSSAI rules, any restaurant doing business worth Rs 12 lakh and more need to obtain a licence, otherwise will face penalties. And, the eateries which are earning less than Rs 12 lakh need to register themselves.
According to a media report, only 2300 registration applications have been received by the government since March, even though thousands of such eateries, coffee and juice bars – new and old — are functioning across the country during the pandemic.
When the online catering and food delivery services are functioning in informal set up, it is not possible for the food safety regulators to find out if safety standards were being followed in terms of cooking procedures, products used, and other aspects.