Blinkit Faces Heat of Food Authorities: Why the Quick Commerce Platform is in Trouble 

The inspection conducted on June 5 found that the Blinkit warehouse premises were very disorganized and unhygienic, and the storage racks were dusty. 
Blinkit Faces Heat of Food Authorities: Why the Quick Commerce Platform is in Trouble 

Netizens are buzzing on X (formerly Twitter) about Blinkit. Many expressed disappointment with its services, and some are even planning to switch to alternative platforms. 

It all started with the Commission of Food Safety in Telangana raiding Blinkit's warehouse in Telangana's Medchal Malkajgiri district. The commission mentioned that several safety measures were not followed by Zomato-led Blinkit. 

The inspection conducted on June 5 found that the warehouse premises were very disorganized and unhygienic, and the storage racks were dusty. 

Commission of Food Safety on the Inspection 

Taking to X, the commission mentioned that inspections revealed the absence of a Food Safety Training and Certification (Fostac) trainee. FoSTaC is a comprehensive training and certification program for food businesses across the food value chain. Certified individuals, termed Food Safety Supervisors (FSS), will train other food handlers at their premises, fostering a network of trained personnel. 

Further, food handlers are working without headgear, gloves, or aprons, and there is a lack of medical fitness certificates for food handlers. Cosmetic products were also improperly stored alongside food items.

Read: Reliance Industries Set to Enter the Quick Commerce Space, Taking on Blinkit, Instamart, and Others: Report

To add to it, the commission suspected that Whole Farm Ragi flour and Toor Dal, worth Rs 52,000, were infested. Hence, it was sent to the lab for testing. The commission also added that the license of Whole Farm Congruence Trade and Services Pvt. Ltd. was not as per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act). 

The commission has said that notice will be issued, and further actions will be taken against the respective warehouse. After this incident, the company spokesperson for Blinkit said that they are working with their warehouse partner and the food safety department to take corrective action based on the findings. 

What is the FSSAI? 
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, which consolidates various food-related laws. FSSAI sets science-based standards for food products and regulates their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale, and import to ensure safe and wholesome food for consumers. 

Read: Blinkit is on a Dream Run. Big Ecommerce can End it

Regarding inspections, the FSS Act authorises Food Safety Officers to enter and inspect any premises where food is manufactured, stored, or sold. They can also take samples for analysis. These officers are responsible for inspecting food businesses, collecting samples, and sending them to food analysts for examination. 

Holding the FSSAI License 
A FSSAI license is basically a fourteen-digit unique number that is granted to restaurants, traders, and manufacturers that are involved in the food business. Food businesses that have a turnover of more than Rs 12 crore and less than Rs 20 crore should apply for the license. Blinkit also has an FSSAI license. 

The importance of a FSSAI license is that it reflects that your business has complied with food safety regulations. In 2018, Zomato and Swiggy even delisted restaurants that didn’t have the FSSAI license. 

Recently, the FSSAI asked e-commerce platforms to classify food items correctly. This was after the FSSAI observed that milk, cereals, and malt-based beverages were being categorized as health or energy drinks on the e-commerce platforms. This directive aims to improve transparency and assist consumers in making informed decisions. 

Concerns about the quality of food increased in the country after Singapore and Hong Kong suspended the sale of some spices from Everest and MDH. The countries cited the presence of high levels of the carcinogenic substance EtO. Following it, the FSSAI tested samples of MDH and Everest. As per the Economic Times, the regulatory body didn’t find traces of ethylene oxide in most reports. 

With safety and regulation being an important part of the business, it remains to be seen how Blinkit will work on its safety and hygiene regulations. The pressure on Blinkit is heavy. The company is not only poised to expand further; Quick Commerce as a whole is expanding rapidly. Flipkart is the latest e-commerce giant that wants to explore the quick commerce category. 

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