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Do I need a Food License (FSSAI / FOSCOS)?

Food standards have been always the main concern of the Indian government. To maintain all these standards for the security and safety of the health of the public they have established FSSAI registration for every type of food business operators in India. In this article, we will discuss all the important aspects of FSSAI license in India.

To provide assurance of food safety, Food businesses must implement an effective Food Safety Management System (FSMS) based on Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) and suitable pre-requisite programs by actively controlling hazards throughout the food chain starting from food production till final consumption of food item.

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has been created for laying down science-based principles for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import to ensure availability of safe and healthy food for human consumption.

1. What is FSSAI Registration?

FSSAI registration is mandatory compliance that ensures the safety of food products supplied or manufactured by various establishments in India. It is a food safety certificate issued by the respective food authority of India. This governing body responsible for food security is known as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) that are regulated under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006.

Obtaining an FSSAI license is mandatory before starting any food business operation in India. All the traders, manufacturers, restaurants who are involved in the food business must obtain a 14-digit license number which is printed on their food products.

2. Why FSSAI Registration is Required?

Every food business operator involved in the manufacturing, processing, sale of food products and storage distribution must compulsorily obtain FSSAI Registration or License. FSSAI License is different from FSSAI Registration in the sense that depending on the nature and size of the business, FBO should obtain the necessary registration or license.

It is a 14-digit numeric registration or a license number that is printed on all the food packages. This registration procedure is aimed to create more answerability on the FBO to maintain the quality of the food products.

3. For Whom it is Mandatory to Obtain FSSAI License in India?

The following individuals or entities must obtain FSSAI Registration or License as per the rules and regulation of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006:

  • All types of Food Manufacturer

  • Food Packaging unit

  • Food Storage unit

  • Wholesale food business operators

  • Food Traders

  • Online Food Business Operator

  • Caters or Hotel Raw food material suppliers

  • Exporter and Importer of food products

  • Transporter and Distributors

  • Food Product retailers.

4. Types of FSSAI License and Their Eligibility Criteria

Here Are The Several Types Of Food Registration Categories Along With Their Eligibility Criteria:

Types of FSSAI License are as follows:

A Food Business Operator (FBO) is required to obtain the food license upon exceeding a particular turnover. The type of food license to be obtained depends on the scale of the business and the type of business activity the food business operator is involved in. Only after submitting the documents required for FSSAI license, the application would be considered by the government authority. There are three types of FSSAI License:

1. Basic FSSAI Registration: This type of Registration is mandatory for the petty food business operators. It is also recalled as the Basic FSSAI License. It is for the business whose turnover does not exceed the limit of Rs. 12 lac per annum. People who come under this category are almost the petty retailer, itinerant vendors, hawkers, or temporary stallholders.

2. State FSSAI License: This license is mandatory for the food Business with annual turnover between Rs. 12 Lac – Rs. 20 Crore additionally or per annum. The turnover limit is the same for an FSSAI State Manufacturing license or FSSAI State trading license.

3. Central FSSAI license: Central FSSAI license is mandatory for the food business whose annual turnover is above Rs. 20 Crore in Case of trading or manufacturing or storage beyond certain limited as specified by the laws.

5. Procedure for Obtaining FSSAI Registration

1. FSSAI registration is initiated by submitting Form A (application) to the food and safety department.

2. This application can be accepted or it may be rejected by the Department within 7 days from the application date and the fact has to be intimated to the applicant in writing

3. If the application is accepted, then the department will grant a registration certificate with the registration number and the photo of the applicant.

4. FBO should prominently display the certificate of registration at the place of business during the business hours.

6. What Are The Advantages Of Obtaining FSSAI License?

The food business can get several legal benefits:

  • Creates consumer awareness

  • You can use FSSAI logo, which can build a goodwill among the customers.

  • Set down science-based principles

  • To facilitate food safety

  • The research and development sector is responsible to maintain the safety.

  • New guidelines are introduced which are compatible with international organization

  • Set up as evidence proof studies for drafting policies.

  • There is a huge chance of business expansion.

7. Consequences of Non-Compliance

Any registered or licensed person under the FSSAI has to adhere to the rules and regulations under the FSS Act, 2006. Food safety officer generally inspects the food business operator’s facility and identifies the level of compliance with the regulation using a checklist. Based on the observance level, the food safety officer marks it as:

1. Compliance (C)

2. Non-compliance (NC)

3. Partial compliance (PC)

4. Not applicable/Not observed (NA)

Based on the above, the food safety officer (FSO) might issue an improvement notice where ever required per Sec 32 of the FSS Act, 2006. If the business operator fails to comply with the improvement notice, the officer after allowing the licensee to show cause may cancel his license.

8. Conclusion

FSSAI registration or License is mandatory for all types of food business operators in India whether they are transporters, distributors, manufacturers or caterers, etc. there are 3 types of registration available depending upon the annual turnover and type of the establishments or business.

DISCLAIMER– This write-up is based on the understanding and interpretation of the author and the same is not intended to be professional advice.

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