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Florida bills would regulate food delivery services


(The Center Square) — Florida lawmakers are advancing bills that would regulate food delivery platforms in the Sunshine State while adding identity protections for consumers.

House Bill 1099 is sponsored by state Rep. Lauren Melo, R-Naples, and co-introduced by Rep. Allison Tant, D-Tallahassee. The bill would require food delivery platforms to disclose information and notify consumers.

A similar bill in the Senate, SB 676, is sponsored by state Sen. Jennifer Bradley, R-Fleming Island. It will be before the Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Environment, and General Government on Thursday after passing the Regulated Industries Committee by a unanimous 5-0 vote.

The House bill’s analysis states that the Division of Hotels & Restaurants under the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation would be authorized and responsible for enforcing laws related to the regulation and inspection of public food service establishments to protect public health and safety.

Currently, food delivery platforms are not regulated by the state of Florida. Instead, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has developed best practice guidelines for food delivery, meal subscription services, ghost kitchens, and third-party delivery services.

The bill would authorize the division to issue a notice to cease and desist to a food delivery platform for violations and also gives the division the authority to enforce a cease and desist notice or issue a reasonable fine — in some instances up to $1,000 — if the delivery platform does not fix a violation within 7 days of being given notice.

The bill was presented to the House Regulatory Reform & Economic Development Subcommittee Tuesday by Rep. Melo, who stated that the bill would initiate a first-of-its-kind ordinance in Miami-Dade County regulating food delivery platforms.

“This legislation will ensure customers receive clear information regarding their transactions and the relationship between the food delivery platform and the restaurant,” Melo said.

Melo added that several local ordinances have now been filed in cities across Miami-Dade County, including Miami. These ordinances include a requirement to share a customer’s identifying information with a food service establishment.

“Under this bill, those local ordinances would not be permitted, setting a stronger standard for protection of consumer information in Florida,” Melo said.

The bill’s analysis further states that if a food delivery platform does not have a relationship with a food service provider, the delivery platform is required to provide notice to the consumer that no such relationship exists.