Food delivery apps must give nutrition info: FSSAI

Come 1 July, food aggregators such as Swiggy and Zomato will be required to list the nutritional values ​​and food allergens of all items displayed on the menu.

The new provision by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is applicable for food business operators who have annual gross revenues of over 20 crore and have more than 10 outlets with licenses issued by the central authorities.

“E-commerce food business operators such as Swiggy and Zomato will now have to do the menu labeling for the food they are selling online. They have to also direct their FBOs (food business operators) to display nutritional value in terms of how much calorie a person is going to intake (in Kcal per serving and portion) and allergen information for the respective food items being sold through the digital platforms ,” Arun Singhal, chief executive, FSSAI, said in an interview.

“The aim is to inform people about what kind of food they are ordering online and the kind of nutritional and allergen content. People should know what they are eating. In packaged food, they have labels, but for cooked cuisines such as dal makhani or butter chicken, they do not have labeling. Menu labels for cooked food will sensitize consumers to eat healthy.”

Besides, restaurants must also comply with the rules at the physical outlets, Singhal said. “Some food chains were voluntarily following the protocol at their physical outlets, but now it will be mandatory from 1 July.”

According to an FSSAI official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, nutritional and allergen labeling of cooked food will vary from restaurant to restaurant. “It will depend on the kind of food, how it is cooked and what kind of ingredients are being used. It will be customized,” he added.

The apex food regulator directed both Swiggy and Zomato to upgrade the interface so that FBOs can add the nutritional information for each dish they are selling.

FSSAI said all regional directors will be advised to ensure necessary compliance by e-commerce FBOs. “If any FBO fails to fulfill the compliance, then we will issue an improvement notice. Despite that if they do not follow the directions, their license will be cancelled,” he added.

“It will help consumers to make quick and informed decisions in choosing a healthy diet. Food Service Establishments shall provide nutritional information as prescribed under regulation 5(3) of FSS Labeling and Display, Regulations 2020. However, the same regulation provides an exception that a deviation of 25% may be tolerated in the declaration of nutritional information as prescribed thereunder ,” Siddharth Malkania, a Delhi-based advocate, said.

“We showcase nutritional and allergen status when a restaurant voluntarily shares required information with us. As per FSSAI guidelines, we are working with the restaurant partners to enable our customers to make an informed choice,” a Zomato spokesperson said. Email queries to a Swiggy spokesperson did not elicit any response till press time.

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