Online delivery apps need to use some of their resources in training and capacity building of restaurants for improving food safety and hygiene rather than focusing only on deep discounts and aggressive marketing.
Government agencies like FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) are responsible for setting food safety standards, conducting inspections, ensuring that standards are met, and maintaining a strong enforcement program to deal with those who do not comply with standards.
In some countries, such as the UK, authorities issue hygiene ratings that are made public or even displayed on the front of the premises, which can improve or damage business reputations, and provides added incentive to produce food of high quality.
In the EU the main legislation controlling food safety practices is Regulation (EC) on the hygiene of foodstuffs, which is the basis for each member country’s local regulations. Australia and New Zealand are governed by the Food Standards Code. Pulling food delivery apps up for ignoring food safety and hygiene norms is one step towards food regulations on par with international standards.
How do apps practice food safety during COVID-19?
On World Food Safety Day, we are taking stock of what online delivery apps are doing. Amidst the current lockdown situation in India, ensuring delivery of safe, hygienic food to customers is paramount. To ensure this, most food delivery apps have launched “contactless delivery”. Customers can opt to allow the delivery partner to leave the package outside their home, ensuring no human-to-human interaction and hence lowering risk of any transmission.
They have distributed and continue to distribute face masks to delivery partners to keep them, as well as customers, safe from the spread of an unlikely infection. They are also continuously educating delivery partners on hygiene practices (not to touch face, nose, sneeze in elbow, etc.) to ensure their own as well as the ecosystem’s safety. Delivery partners are being asked to share a daily self declaration on their hygiene and health – normal body temperature, sanitised masks and bags.
Strict hygiene standards at restaurants
Swiggy and Zomato are making a big push to ensure hygiene standards are being followed by the restaurants they work with, and passing on that information to users so that they can make an informed decision. Restaurants have set up hand washing and sanitisation stations and are ensuring that restaurant staff as well as delivery partners are using them regularly. They are being encouraged to adopt the practice of sanitising their kitchen slabs and utensils at periodic intervals.
Restaurants are also checking the body temperature of restaurant staff as well as our delivery partners to ensure that food is not delivered by someone with a higher than normal body temperature.
3 things you can do for food safety
1. Discard outer packaging & transfer your food
Dispose of outer covers like paper or plastic bags immediately after receiving your food. It is also recommended that you transfer the food from the container to your own vessel before consumption.
2. Wash your hands
Once the packaging has been discarded, wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Repeat before consuming food (and at regular intervals throughout the day).
3. Reheat your food
High temperatures can kill any potential bacteria or viruses. So, for your safety, we recommend reheating your food before consumption.