Online food vendors must register: HPA

Photo: Mihaaru

Male’, Maldives – Health Protection Agency (HPA) has announced that home based food vendors must register their business, in order to continue sales.

The notice which was published by HPA on Monday read that it has come to the attention of the Agency, that some home based businesses are vending food products with out the relevant permits.

“In this regard, this agency has received complaints of food being prepared in unregistered kitchens and places alike, along with that of the advertisement of food and products used for smoking at homes, shops and online platforms.” The notice read.

The notice ended with HPA stating that all such businesses shall comply with all safety and hygiene protocols and regulations set by the relevant institutions along with the attainment of all necessary permits, warning of legal measures for those who fail to do so.

While this is so, many have taken to social media to express their dissatisfaction with the decision of HPA, which will  destroy start up SMEs such as that of home based cooks, with may vouching to only eat from home based cooks regardless of the government’s decisions.

Others however, claimed that although it is important to regulate the compliance of safety and health protocols with regards to food outlets, the crashing of the Maldivian economy and timing, along with the duration within which the notice takes effect should have been considered.

The matter saw MPs joining in on the social media discussions with lawyer and MP for Kendhoo constituency, Ali Hussain asking whether independent trade and free market is only the right of those to do business with rentals. “Where is the free market for those who cook something to sell, in order to earn money for the basic necessities of the households?” He asked.

What heated up the discussion further was leaked chats of the members of Restaurant Association of Maldives (RAM), of which one member who is the share holder of a local restaurant in Male’, is claimed to have said that “RAM must push HPA in this tempo to eradicate unregistered online food vendors as well as food that are kept in retail shops and marts …”. With this, many have claimed that the bigger businesses feel threatened of SME businesses in the industry, due to which they have pushed HPA to make the announcement.

However, as social media discussions go on, the notice remains and all outlets are required to register with the relevant authorities. HPA shared a link to the registration portal of Ministry of Health: