On 9 April 2018, the FSSAI has issued letters to Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal, and Shopclues about violation of Direct Selling Guidelines 2016, issued by the Department of Consumer Affairs which was brought to the notice of the FSSAI by the Indian, Direct Selling Association (IDSA).
The IDSA brought to the notice of the FSSAI that Health supplements and food items produced by Direct Selling Entities are being sold on-e-commerce portals without their prior written consent. The IDSA also drew attention to the Model Guidelines on Direct Selling 2016, issues by the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) which works under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution wherein Clause 7(6) conduct for the Protection of Consumer) of the said Guidelines specially stipulates that “any person who sell or offer for sale, including on e-commerce platforms/market place any product or service of a Direct Selling Entity, must have prior written consent from the respective Direct Selling Entity in order to undertake or solicit such sale or offer.”
Therefore, in view of the above, any e-commerce sale of DSE products has to have prior written consent. In the interest of maintaining the food safety chain, e-commerce entities must ensure that the products of DSEs, sold or offered for sale through their e-commerce portals have the prior written consent of the concerned DSEs as per the guidelines of the DCA.