Q-commerce Platforms Tighten Food Safety Measures As Contamination Reports Surface

Unsettling surprises have been emerging from delivery packages lately, with reports of a human finger, centipede, and a dead mouse found in food items delivered by quick commerce firms like Zepto and Blinkit. These incidents have drawn significant attention to the negligence of food safety standards set by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Dark stores, essential for the rapid delivery models of companies like Zepto, Blinkit, and Instamart, are typically not accessible to the general public. However, their operations have come under scrutiny following disturbing findings. In a recent raid on a Blinkit warehouse in Hyderabad, the Commissioner of Food Safety discovered several violations, including expired products, improper hygiene protocols, and inadequate storage conditions.

In light of recent food safety violations at dark stores across India, e-commerce platforms are ramping up their product checks to ensure consumer safety. Instances of food contamination have prompted these platforms to reconsider internal policies, with some even willing to delist sellers for repeated safety breaches.

In response to these alarming incidents, e-commerce platforms are intensifying product checks and revising internal policies to ensure consumer safety. Zepto is considering a recall policy for contaminated products, reflecting a growing commitment to address these issues. If a customer reports contamination, the entire batch of the affected product could be recalled. An anonymous CEO of an online platform highlighted the limitations of controlling product quality once items are sealed, stressing the importance of delisting sellers for serious lapses.

Similarly, Hershey’s India faced scrutiny after a customer claimed to find a dead mouse in their chocolate syrup. The company asserted that its products undergo multiple quality checks and found no validity to the contamination claim.

Proactively, manufacturers are also stepping up their safety protocols. For instance, iD Fresh Food plans to deploy AI cameras in its manufacturing plants to enhance inspection processes. Baskin Robbins also emphasized their stringent process controls and use of technology to ensure product safety.

Angshu Mallick, MD & CEO at Adani Wilmar, pointed out that all their plants meet the American Institute for Baking (AIB) quality standards, emphasizing the need for Food Business Operators to revisit their Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP). Deepak Jolly, the Chairperson of the Ind Food & Beverage Association (IFBA), urged companies to adapt their safety measures to the evolving delivery platforms.

The recent incidents have raised significant concerns among consumers, leading to calls for greater transparency in storage facilities and adherence to quality standards. As the quick-commerce sector continues to expand, ensuring rigorous safety and hygiene protocols remains crucial to maintaining consumer trust and brand integrity.

As the industry grapples with these challenges, the collective efforts of e-commerce platforms and manufacturers to tighten safety protocols and leverage technology are critical steps toward ensuring consumer safety and maintaining trust.

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