According to media reports, the practice has so far been unregulated, even though it has become big business in Pakistan’s most populous province. Increasing numbers of consumers have voiced concerns over the hygiene of such delivered foods.
Vendors sell food items over social media sites including Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, and are often without proper licences. They use these sites to advertise attractive-looking dishes to attract customers.
Having directed his team to form a policy to bring online food suppliers under the law, Punjab Food Authority director-general Noorul Amin Mengal has published guidelines requiring operators to be licensed, to adopt food labels and to provide medical certificates for food handers.
The guidelines state that labels should include ingredients, manufacturing and expiry date, food additive codes, net weights, storage instructions and the address of the processor.
As most complaints received by the PFA related to packaging, the authority has also made it mandatory for these home kitchens to use food-grade materials.
The authority will begin to take action against violators after a grace period that will last until July 5.