FSSAI Full form, Functions, License, Compliance Rules

By Mayashree Acharya


Updated on: Jun 14th, 2024


3 min read

In India, there are several licences or registrations that a Food Business Operator (FBO) must obtain to run the business. One such significant license is the FSSAI license required by all food businesses, exporters, importers, wholesalers, retailers and distributors. The FSSAI is the authority granting FSSAI licenses in India to FBOs.


What is FSSAI?

The Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006 establishes FSSAI. Accordingly, the Central Government has established the FSSAI to exercise the powers conferred and perform the functions under the FSS Act. FSSAI is the regulatory authority that implements the FSS Act.

The full form of FSSAI is India’s Food Safety and Standards Authority. The FSS Act, rules and regulations are under the jurisdiction of FSSAI. It checks for safe food storage, manufacturing and handling practices of FBOs. It also ensures that the FBOs follow the regulations and food standards provided in the FSS Act. It inspects the food premises of the FBOs and grants the FSSAI license, a mandatory requirement to carry on the food business.

Functions of FSSAI

  • FSSAI monitors and regulates food processing, manufacture, sale, distribution and import to ensure wholesome and safe food.
  • The FSSAI can specify the following through regulations:
    • Guidelines and standards relating to food articles and specify an appropriate system to enforce the standards provided under the FSS Act.
    • The limits for using crop contaminants, food additives, residues of veterinary drugs, pesticide residues, processing aids, heavy metals, antibiotics, mycotoxins, pharmacologically active substances and food irradiation.
    • The guidelines and mechanisms for accreditation of bodies engaged in certifying food safety management systems for food businesses.
    • The quality control enforcement and procedure relating to food articles imported into India.
    • The guidelines and procedure for notifying accredited laboratories and accreditation of laboratories.
    • The method of analysis, sampling and exchange of information amongst enforcement authorities.
    • Administration and survey of enforcement of the FSS Act in the country.
    • Food labelling standards, including claims on nutrition, health, food category systems and special dietary uses for foods.
    • The manner and procedure to be undertaken are related to risk analysis, communication, risk assessment and management.
  • The FSSAI can undertake the following:
    • Provide technical support and scientific advice to the Central and state governments in framing rules and policy in areas that have an indirect or direct bearing on food nutrition and safety.
    • Search, collate, analyse, collect and summarise relevant technical and scientific data.
    • Coordinate, promote and issue guidelines for developing risk assessment methodologies and monitoring, conducting and forwarding messages on food’s nutritional and health risks to the Central and state governments and Commissioners of Food Safety.
    • Provide technical and scientific assistance and advice to the Central Government and state governments to implement crisis management procedures regarding food safety.
    • Establish organisations or a network system to facilitate a scientific cooperation framework through an exchange of information, coordination of activities, implementation and development of joint projects and the exchange of best practices and expertise in the fields within the FSSAI’s responsibility.
    • Provide technical and scientific assistance to the Central and state governments for improving cooperation with international organisations.
    • Take all steps to ensure that the consumers, public, panchayats and interested parties receive reliable, rapid, comprehensive and objective information through appropriate means and methods.
    • Provide training programmes in food standards and safety to persons intending to be involved in food businesses, whether as employees, food business operators or otherwise. 
    • Undertake other tasks assigned to it by the Central Government to carry out the objects of the FSS Act.
    • Contribute to developing international technical standards for sanitary, food and phyto-sanitary standards.
    • Contribute to the development of specific food-related measures.
    • Promote coordination of work on food standards undertaken by non-governmental and international organisations.
    • Promote consistency between international technical and domestic food standards while ensuring the level of protection adopted in the country is not reduced.
    • Promote general awareness as to food standards and safety.
  • The FSSAI can give such directions on food standards and safety to the Commissioner of Food Safety, who is bound by such directions while exercising their powers under the FSS Act.

FSSAI License

The FSSAI issues a 14-digit license number to the Food Business Operators (FBOs) who comply with the regulations and rules under the FSS Act. The FSSAI License number and the FSSAI logo must be printed on all food products. It must also be displayed on the food business premises. An FBO can apply for the FSSAI license on the FoSCoS website by submitting the registration form (Form-A or Form-B). Additionally, they can submit the registration form offline to the food safety department of the respective states.

Here is an example of the FSSAI license number and logo displayed on a food product:

With the advent of technology, all food tech startups deliver food directly from restaurants to customers through an order placed on an app or online platforms. Food aggregator apps should display the appropriate licenses of the restaurants. 

Who Should Obtain FSSAI License?

FSSAI has made it compulsory for every food business and every entity related to food business to obtain the FSSAI license/registration. The following are required to obtain an FSSAI license:

  • Petty retailers such as bakery confectionery, snacks shops, etc.
  • Fixed or temporary stalls and food premises involved in the sale, preparation, storage and distribution of food products such as chat stalls, fruits/vegetable vendors, sweet stalls, juice shops, etc.
  • Hawkers sell packaged or prepared food by travelling (usually on foot or in carts) from one location to another.
  • Dairy units, including milk vendors, milk chilling units and petty milkmen.
  • Slaughtering houses, meat and fish processing units.
  • Every food manufacturing and processing unit, including repacking of food.
  • Vegetable oil processing units.
  • Proprietary and novel food.
  • Cold and refrigerated storage facility.
  • Transporters of food products have specialised vehicles like milk tankers, insulated refrigerated vans/wagons, food trucks, food wagons, etc.
  • Wholesaler, retailer, supplier and marketer of food products.
  • Hotels, bars and restaurants.
  • Canteens and cafeteria, including mid-day meal canteens.
  • Food vending agencies.
  • Banquet halls with food catering arrangements, PG providing food, caterer, Dhaba,home-based canteens and food stalls in religious institutions.
  • Importers and exporters of food articles, including food ingredients.
  • E-commerce food suppliers, including cloud kitchens.

Types of FSSAI License

The food license or registration issued by FSSAI are of many types. Every FBO should apply for the FSSAI license as per their nature of business, turnover and production capacity. The different licenses issued by FSSAI are as follows:

FSSAI Basic Registration: FBOs having an annual turnover of below Rs.12 lakhs need to apply for FSSAI Basic Registration. It applies to small and petty food businesses.

FSSAI State License: FBOs having an annual turnover of above Rs.12 lakhs but below Rs.2 crore must apply for FSSAI State License. It applies to mainly medium-sized food businesses.

FSSAI Central License: FBOs having an annual turnover of above Rs.2 crore must apply for FSSAI Central License. It applies to large food businesses, exporters and importers.

Documents For FSSAI License

The documents required for FSSAI license are as follows:

  • Form-A (for FSSAI Basic Registration) or Form-B (for FSSAI State and Central License) duly completed and signed.
  • Food Safety Management System (FSMS) plan. 
  • ID proof of FBO.
  • Address proof of food business premises. 
  • Proof of business premises possession, such as sale deed, rental agreement, NOC from the owner of the rented premises, utility bills, etc.
  • List of food products manufactured or processed.
  • Other documents (if required), such as a copy of the License from the manufacturer, Health NOC, NOC by Municipality or Panchayat, etc.

The additional documents required for FSSAI State License are as follows:

  • Processing unit plan.
  • List of partners, directors or proprietors with photo ID, address and contact details.
  • Name and list of equipment used with the number and installed capacity.
  • Authority letter from the manufacturer nominated a responsible person’s name and address.
  • Analysis report of water used in the food processes.
  • Certificate obtained under Coop Act, 1861 or Multi-State Coop Act, 2002.

The additional documents required for FSSAI Central License are as follows:

  • Processing unit plan.
  • List of partners, directors or proprietors with photo ID, address and contact details.
  • Name and list of equipment used with the number and installed capacity.
  • Authority letter from the manufacturer nominated a responsible person’s name and address.
  • Analysis report of water used in the food processes.
  • Source of raw material for meat, milk, etc.
  • Recall the plan, if applicable.
  • Ministry of Commerce Certificate for 100% EOU, if applicable.
  • NOC document issued by FSSAI.
  • Import Export Code issued by DGFT.
  • Form IX.
  • Certificate from the Ministry of Tourism.
  • Supporting document for proof of transportation and turnover.
  • Declaration form.

Food Safety Department

The food safety department is an organisation related to FSSAI. The state government appoints a Commissioner of Food Safety per the FSS Act for efficient implementation of the food standards, safety and other requirements laid down under the FSS Act, rules and regulations throughout the respective state. The Commissioner of Food Safety heads the food safety department.

It issues FSSAI licenses or registration to the FBOs operating within the state. It also regulates the storage, manufacture, distribution and sale of food products. It monitors the food industry or market by taking food items and water samples that carry the risk of impurities. It creates consumer awareness regarding adulteration in food articles and labelling requirements of food packages.

FSSAI Compliance Rules

The Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011, supplement the FSS Act. These rules provide for the qualification and duties of the Commissioner of Food Safety, designated officers, food safety officers and food analysts. It also states the procedure to take extracts of documents, seize food articles by the food safety officer, and sample and analyse food articles. It provides the procedure of adjudication and appeals to the appellate tribunal constituted under the FSS Act.

Various regulations regulate various matters relating to FBOs and the food business. Some of the important regulations are provided below:

  • Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulation, 2011.
  • Food Safety and Standards (Food Products Standards and Food Additives) Regulation, 2011.
  • Food Safety and Standards (Prohibition and Restriction of Sales) Regulation, 2011.
  • Food Safety and Standards (Laboratory and Sampling Analysis) Regulation, 2011.
  • Food Safety and Standards (Health Supplements, Nutraceuticals, Food for Special Dietary Use, Food for Special Medical Purpose, Functional Food and Novel Food) Regulations, 2016.
  • Food Safety and Standards (Import) Regulation, 2017.
  • Food Safety and Standards (Packaging) Regulation, 2018.
  • Food Safety and Standards (Labelling and Display) Regulations, 2020.

FSSAI license is a significant license that every person or entity involved in the food business must have. The FSSAI is the authority that regulates the safety, standards and hygiene of the food industry in India. The FSSAI authorities may impose a penalty or ask to close the food business when it does not have an FSSAI license or comply with FSS rules and regulations.

Disclaimer: The materials provided herein are solely for information purposes. No attorney-client relationship is created when you access or use the site or the materials. The information presented on this site does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be relied upon for such purposes or used as a substitute for legal advice from an attorney licensed in your state.

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About the Author

I am an advocate by profession and have a keen interest in writing. I write articles in various categories, from legal, business, personal finance, and investments to government schemes. I put words in a simplified manner and write easy-to-understand articles. Read more


Quick Summary

The FSSAI license is mandatory for all food businesses in India and regulated by FSSAI. It ensures compliance with food safety standards and issues different types of licenses based on turnover. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 sets standards for food safety in India. FSSAI oversees multiple functions related to food safety and provides technical support to the government. The FSSAI license number is a 14-digit identifier that must be displayed on food products.

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