groceries, generic
Photo for illustrative purposes Image Credit: Pixabay

Dubai: In times of the pandemic when most people are ordering groceries online, one major concern for residents is the freshness of products.

Ninju Khatri, a Dubai-based Indian housewife, was horrified to find that a coconut she had ordered from a prestigious online delivery service came wrapped in a cling film with insects crawling inside.

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“I am not a great fan of ordering foodstuffs online as I like to pick and choose items personally. But on the request of my sons, I decided to give in and placed an online order. But my worst fears came true when my order was delivered on the evening of Saturday, July 25. I was repulsed to see insects crawling inside the wrapped coconut. Usually, we are so particular about hygiene at home and take care to carry out regular pest control and sanitisation,” she said, wondering how the incident set her thinking.

She said, “I immediately called the company which was prompt to aplogise, take back the item and refund my money.”

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Ninju Khatri Image Credit: Supplied

When Gulf News contacted the leading online service, the person in charge of “customer and seller” section expressed regret.

He said : “We are grateful this has been brought to our attention and are investigating this fully. We are speaking with all customers who received products from this particular shipment.”

“We hold ourselves to the highest standards of health, hygiene and safety. We look forward to resolving this matter and will take preventative measures to make sure that this does not happen again,” the representative added.

How to ensure a safe online order:

• Make sure to order your fresh fruits and vegetables separately

 Keep dry grocery item orders for lentils, pulses, powders etc separate

• Order only from reputable stores that have a strong procurement and supply chain system

• Read consumer reviews on websites of online grocery stores to know their pluses and minuses

• When groceries arrive, check them in the presence of the delivery boy and make sure no item is contaminated

• Sanitse grocery that is in bottles or boxes thoroughly before storage

Wash the fresh fruits and vegetables in warm water with iodine and salt to disinfect, then drain and dry before storing

• If grocery is contaminated with worms, insects or packaging is damaged or item is in a state of decay, photograph the item

* Contact the retailer immediately and ask for a refund

* If the matter is serious or there is a repeat offence, lodge a complaint about violation of food safety with the Municipality

In Dubai, residents can lodge complaints with Dubai Municipality on the toll-free number 800 900. This service is available 24/7 or write to