INDIA – E-commerce food business operators (FBOs) will from 1 July be required to list the nutritional values and food allergens of all items displayed on the menu.

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

“E-commerce food business operators such as Swiggy and Zomato will now have to do the menu labelling for the food they are selling online.

“They have to also direct their 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.

FSSAI aims that through the labels, people will have a clearer picture 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 labelling. Menu labels for cooked food will sensitize consumers to eat healthy,” Singhal said.

He pointed out that from July 1st it will be mandatory for all food chains to comply with the rules, despite being previously voluntary.

Notably, consultation with industry stakeholders on the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labelling) First Amendment Regulations 2020 have been on for the past two years.

FSSAI aims that through the labels, people will have a clearer picture about what kind of food they are ordering online and the kind of nutritional and allergen content.

FSSAI first introduced the labelling regulations under its ‘Eat Right Initiative’ to improve public health in India and combat negative nutritional trends, hence fight lifestyle diseases.

According to an FSSAI official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, nutritional and allergen labelling of cooked food will vary from restaurant to restaurant, says mint.

“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.

Besides allergen warnings, the FSSAI also mandates for health warnings to be availed in case certain ingredients which are not suitable for pregnant women and infants like monosodium glutamate are used in preparation of the food.

The logos of vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes will also need to be displayed on menu cards, booklets or menu boards. However, these regulations will not be applicable on event caterers and foodservice premises that operate for less than 60 days in a year.

FSSAI said all Regional Directors will be advised to ensure necessary compliance by e-commerce FBOs.

“If any FBO fails to fulfil the compliance, then we will issue an improvement notice. If they do not follow the directions despite the notice, their license will be cancelled,” said the FSSAI official.

In an order, FSSAI also directed online food ordering and delivery platforms to ask business partners with annual gross revenues of over ₹20 crore (USD 2,562,724) and more than 10 outlets to apply for a license from the central authorities.

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