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Food Hygiene Guidelines for Food Delivery Businesses

Food Delivery

The biggest reason why FSSAI has mandated the possession of the food license for every food delivery business is for safety & hygiene purpose. Many studies have suggested that most of the people in India suffer because of unhealthy and unhygienic food.

Therefore, considering the public health and quality of food offered to them, the Ministry of Health and Family Affairs has set specific guidelines for every food business operator (FBO).

However, in this piece of content, our main target would be to cover the guidelines for food delivery businesses in India, set by the FSSAI. Let’s discover several aspects related to food delivery businesses and find out its scope in India.

Market Overview of the Online Food Delivery Business in India

According to Statista[1], online food delivery business in India has got a boom in recent times. Here are some stats on how these businesses are performing in the market:

  • In 2019, the revenue generation of the online food delivery segment sums to US$7,092 million.
  • By the year 2023, the revenue is estimated to experience an annual growth rate (CAGR 2019-2023) of 9.9%, which will result in a market volume of US$10,363 million.
  • In 2019, Restaurant-to-Customer has become the market’s largest food segment with a market volume of US$5,825 million.
Market Overview of the Online Food Delivery Business

Source: Statista

From the above figures, it is quite apparent that the food delivery business in India is performing quite well. Furthermore, in the future, it could be one of the market’s most significant food segments worldwide.

What is Food Delivery Business in India?

Typically, the food delivery business is the one which renders services for direct consumption, such as prepared food and meals ordered online.

There are basically two types of food delivery segments. They are:

  • Restaurant-to-Consumer, and
  • Platform-to-Consumer.

Restaurant-to-Consumer: It is the one where meals are delivered directly by the restaurants to the consumers. In such segments, the order is made either directly through a restaurant’s web portal such as Domino’s, Mc. Donald’s, etc. Or the order may be made through platforms such as Swiggy, Zomato, Food Panda, Uber Eats, etc.

Food Delivery

Platform-to-Consumer:It’s a kind of delivery market segment which delivers online food to customers from the partner restaurants. Such restaurants may not compulsorily have their own food delivery platform. Therefore, platforms such as Swiggy, etc. manage the process of food delivery.

Why has FSSAI mandated to obtain the food license for every FBO?

A study conducted in 2016 by the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that India loses 27,316 ‘healthy year’ per 1 lakh population per annum to disability and illness. This fraction is 80% more than that of China.

Hence, it became an alarming situation for the nation and its people. Therefore, the Government of India and the FSSAI came up with specific guidelines and set up some standards for every FBO in India.

As a result, every FBO needs food license for commencing a food business. Apart from these, there are several other challenges that are arising in unpredictable ways due to which holding an FSSAI license is made mandatory. Those challenges are:

  • Changes in the supply and production of food;
  • Increase in multi state outbreaks of food borne illness;
  • Alterations in the environment, which leads to food contamination;
  • Different kinds of contamination and contaminants getting inside the food chain;
  • Many new and emerging toxins, germs, and antibiotic resistance.

Guidelines by FSSAI for food delivery businesses holding the food license

As we have discussed above, FSSAI has set some standards for every food business in India; and food delivery businesses are no exception. Guidelines set for businesses delivering food are as follows:

  • As per Rule 2.1 of Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food businesses) Regulation, 2011, every FBO in the country needs to obtain the FSSAI/food license, according to the procedures laid down.
  • As per 2.1.2 of FSS regulations, nobody can carry on the food business unless he/she holds the valid food license.
  • Businesses are supposed to ensure the source and quality of raw materials are as per standards of FSSAI.
  • They must not deal with the products other than those listed on the license.
  • Now, it has become obligatory to add suggestive images of the food on the website.
  • If there are any changes or modifications in contents of the license, then they need to inform the authority.
  • Supervision is mandatory. Therefore, to supervise, there must be at least one technical person.
  • The food delivery businesses need to sell and buy food products only to or from registered or licensed vendors.
  • The takeaway packaging must have the following content written on the package- “for immediate consumption.”

New guidelines set by the FSSAI for food license holders for food delivery businesses

Observing the bad public health and keeping the consumer’s safety into consideration, the FSSAI has come up with the new guidelines. These standards aren’t made for both food listing websites as well as the packed food delivery website or apps.

Food Guidelines

New guidelines as per the FSSAI are as follows:

  1. The food prepared and delivered could be intercepted at any point. It implies that the food inspector can any time come and inspect the food being prepared in the restaurants. Further, they ensure that the food is cooked in the hygienic condition.
  2. FSSAI’s new guidelines direct the restaurants and food delivery businesses to deliver only fresh food. Furthermore, the remaining shelf life of the food should be 30% or must be delivered before the expiry date of the food.
  3. Now, adding indicative images of the food on the web portal has become mandatory. Doing this will let consumers to figure out the food that they are opting for and will eradicate any misinterpretation.
  4. There are clear and strict guidelines for the delivery executives of the food as well. As per the instructions, there must be a trained professional for handling or delivering the food. It will omit the chances of the food being handled inappropriately.
  5. All the mandatory information, as mentioned in the FSSAI Act, should be clearly mentioned on the website. The reason for the same is that the customer will be aware of what they are purchasing. Those details include manufacturing and expiry dates, price, ingredients, etc.
  6. One should not compromise with the safety of the food at any cost. The food must reach the consumer safely. Moreover, the FBO needs to handle it with the utmost care from the preparation to delivery of the food.

Penalty for Non-Compliance


According to Section 48 of the FSS Act, if the FBO doesn’t comply with the above-stated guidelines, then they would have to pay grim penalties for the same. The penalties are as follows:

S. no. Type of Non-Compliance Penalty/Fine
1. Substandard Food Upto Rs. 2 lakhs
2. Misbranded food Upto Rs. 3 lakhs
3. Misleading advertisement Upto Rs. 10. lakhs  
4. Food with extraneous matter Upto Rs. 1 lakh  
5. Failure in meeting the requirements directed by FSO Upto Rs. 2 lakhs  
6. Unhygienic/unsanitary preparations Upto Rs. 1 lakh  
7. Adulterant not injurious to health Up to Rs. 2 lakhs
8. Adulterant injurious to health Up to Rs. 10 lakhs
9. Unsafe food – but it doesn’t create immediate injury 6 months imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 10 lakhs.

Concluding thoughts

From the above discussion, it’s quite evident that whether you’re a food delivery business or any FBO, food license is mandatory for everybody. Besides, there are several other guidelines laid by the FSSAI which is obligatory to follow.

However, if anybody is found neglecting the standards set by the FSSAI, the food business operator will be guilty of the same. Besides, he/she will be charged with grim penalties as described above or can even be imprisoned and fined both.

In case, you still have confusions or queries regarding the Food Hygiene Guidelines or Food License, then contact Enterslice. Or you can leave a comment below. Our experts will get back to you soon.

Read our article:Why FBOs follow FSSAI Compliance?

Khushboo Priya

Khushboo Priya is an experienced Legal content writer with a prodigious proof-reading and research & development skill.

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