FSA calls for Facebook to tighten food seller checks
The call comes as a BBC investigation has discovered a large number of sellers on Facebook Marketplace offering unregulated foods without hygiene ratings.
Facebook requires people selling food from their homes on a regular basis to register with their local authority, but BBC News reportedly found a number of food sellers were unregistered.
The BBC conducted a series of test purchases, buying goat curry, cake, roast chicken and chocolate party cones for children from sellers advertising on Facebook, and reportedly found that none of the sellers indicated they were registered, had been inspected or had a food hygiene rating.
Hancock said that Facebook has “an unavoidable moral obligation to help keep people safe.”
“Everyone involved in online marketplace selling – from the host platforms to the home cook – must meet their responsibilities to ensure food is safe and what it says it is. Anyone selling food online in an organised and regular basis must be registered as a food business with their local authority,” added Michael Jackson, Head of Regulatory Compliance at the Food Standards Agency.
“Our advice to people when ordering food online is to check that the business has a food hygiene rating and choose only those with a rating of three or above. If they need to know about allergens, they should make sure they have all the information they need on this before ordering. If they have any doubts about a food seller, they should report them to the local authority and order elsewhere.”
The FSA is already working with the main online food order and delivery platforms such as Just Eat, UberEats and Deliveroo who are reportedly beginning to put the safety of the consumer first. Just Eat is displaying a business’s food hygiene rating on the platform and new businesses must have a rating of three or above before being listed. UberEats are also displaying FHRS ratings on their app.
The FSA is also reportedly starting to prioritise work with other online marketplaces – those that offer not just food but a much greater range of products – such as Facebook Marketplace, and will be having conversations with them around their responsibilities to consumers in the near future.