The Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI) has saluted Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI)’s enforcement rules making registration necessary for home-cooked food vendors.
The supreme hospitality association has said that food operators, whether operating from home or from dark kitchens, should be controlled for neatness and hygiene. If a law is applicable for hotels and restaurants, then it should be applicable to any such food-delivering businesses. It has also depicted that unregistered, unregulated Food Business Operators (FBOs) may not be complying with the hygiene standards, which is harmful for the consumers and increases health risks. The FHRAI has expressed gratitude to the FSSAI for taking action on the appeals made by it.
Gurbaxish Singh Kohli, VP of FHRAI stated- “FSSAI has reacted to our request and is taking steps to look upon any unregulated and illegal dark kitchens. A few of these are actually financed and driven by the Food Service Aggregators (FSAs) to escape responsibilities related to operating restaurants legally and of course, also taxes. The state and the exchequer suffer from huge losses.”
Previously, in its representations to the DPIIT, the FHRAI had raised concerns about FSAs listing such illegal establishments on their portals or food delivery applications. It had advised to the Ministry that FSAs were involved in motivating and giving identity to several unregistered dark kitchen operators.
Kohli further said- “We are grateful to the FSSAI for considering the issue and taking harsh action. We have been bringing it in front of authorities since quite some time now and we are happy that we have been listened. We had even written to the DPIIT regarding concerns about the unregulated sector run by FSAs. The FSAs are actually advocating illegal business under the disguise of discounts and low-priced food. If the FSAs stop permitting such illegal businesses on their apps, these businesses will follow legal rules and will start applying for licenses automatically.”
Pradeep Shetty, joint honorary secretary of FHRAI, and VP of HRAWI declared- “At the beginning, the FSAs had entered the market as food delivery service providers, but today claim to be a component of the hospitality industry which they aren’t. Now they have initiated their own financed establishments under various names, many of which are just dark kitchens functioning without any licenses or permissions. All they do is to make the food look appealing to the customer on the app and the kitchen’s hygiene and pureness has never been a concern. Then advertise it blatantly online with massive discounts and hence adversely affect the legally sound restaurants and hotels.”
The FHRAI has also focussed on the necessity to design a level playing field for all players in the hospitality sector. It has stated that several dark kitchens are in function without following any standard hospitality or kitchen hygiene norms. This may pose threat to the health and lives of consumers.
“Restaurants and hotels are subjected to strictness of state and Central laws for running food businesses, but these illegal businesses function without any licence. They don’t stick to any regulations especially in field of hygiene and cleanliness which all registered restaurants and hotels follow. This is inequitable, biased and most importantly it handicaps legal businesses although they do the authentic work,” Shetty said at the end.