The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is the authority that regulates the food business and food industry in India. Every food-related business needs to obtain the FSSAI registration/license to carry on the food business in India.
Fruit companies are companies engaged in selling, supplying, packing and exporting various varieties of fruits. Since they are engaged in the food business, they must get an FSSAI registration/license mandatorily.
FSSAI’s ‘Clean and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable’ Initiative
The FSSAI launched the ‘Clean and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable’ initiative to regulate the organised and unorganised retail sector selling and distributing fruit and vegetables to consumers. It ensures the quality and hygiene of the fruits and vegetables available for human consumption across India.
Since fruits are perishable, their storage and distribution are challenging. Local fruit retailers play a significant role in the distribution of fruits. There are chances that the fruit retailers may use ripening agents, artificial colours, harmful chemicals and acids, etc., to preserve and sell fruits. Thus, FSSAI launched the initiative for ‘Clean and Fresh Fruits and Vegetables’ and laid down guidelines for the safety and hygiene requirements that the fruit retailers must follow.
The retail sector of fresh fruit produce is categorised as follows:
- The organised retail sector comprises Reliance Fresh, Big Bazar, Nature’s Basket, Big Basket, APMCs etc.
- The unorganised retail sector includes non-permanent shops in the market, pushcart vendors, pavement vendors, and mandis.
The FSSAI initiative regulates both the organised and unorganised retail sector of fresh fruit produce. The general requirements guidelines that the retail sector of fresh fruit produce must comply with are as follows:
- All fruit and vegetable vendors should register under the Food Safety and Standards (Licencing and Registration of Food Business) Regulations, 2011.
- The vendor must display their FSSAI registration/licence number and Food Safety Display Board (FSDB) with the appropriate green colour code applicable to fruit and vegetable retail business on their cart, shop, or kiosk.
- The vendors should not sell fruits that have been artificially ripened by using carbide gas or acetylene gas.
- The vendors can artificially ripen the fruits using ethylene gas obtained from a safe source of up to 100 ppm.
- The vendors should not use stickers that do not contain relevant information on fruits and vegetables directly.
- The vendors can use stickers directly on the skin of fruits and vegetables when the adhesives and inks used on the stickers are of a quality that does not cause any adverse effect on human health.
- Each fruit and vegetable must be free from mineral oil, harmful chemicals, and other colouring material.
- The vendors can wax coat the fruits and vegetables by using only the carnauba wax, beeswax, or shellac wax on the fruits and vegetables.
- Every fresh fruit package coated with wax must have the following label: “Coated with wax (name of wax)”.
Under this initiative, the local authorities will recommend suitable vendors and markets to the FSSAI. The State FDA (Food and Drug Administration) officials will inspect and audit the premises. The officials will implement the required changes and train the vendors to follow the guidelines of the initiative.
The FSSAI panel will conduct an audit to ensure compliance with the food safety standards after the officials implement the changes. When the fruit vendors or markets pass the audit, they will receive a ‘Clean and Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Market Certification’ for one year. The vendors and markets that do not comply with the guidelines of the FSSAI initiative will have to pay heavy fines.
Types of FSSAI Licenses for a Fruit Company
There are three types of FSSAI licenses. The fruit companies have to apply for the FSSAI license based on their annual turnover. The types of FSSAI licenses are as follows:
- FSSAI Basic Registration: The fruit companies whose annual turnover is below Rs.12 lakh must apply for FSSAI Basic Registration.
- FSSAI State License: The fruit companies whose annual turnover exceeds Rs.12 lakhs but less than Rs.20 crore must apply for an FSSAI State License.
- FSSAI Central License: The fruit companies whose annual turnover exceeds Rs.20 crore and operates in two or more states must apply for an FSSAI Central license.
Process to Obtain an FSSAI License by a Fruit Company
- Go to the FoSCoS website.
- Click on the ‘Apply/License Registration’ tab available on the homepage.
- Select the state of the company established from the drop-down menu.
- Click on the ‘Trade/Retail’ option and select the applicable option from the list below, such as wholesaler, retailer, transportation, storage, importer, exporter, distributor, etc.
- Next, select the annual turnover limit of the company and click on the ‘Proceed’ button.
- On the next page, click on the ‘Apply for Registration’ or ‘Apply for State License’ or ‘Apply for Central License’ button.
- Fill in all the details on Form-A or Form-B and click on the ‘Save & Next’ button.
- Upload the required documents and proceed further.
- Click on the payment options on the form, make the required payment and submit the form.
- The FSSAI authorities will go through the form and documents. They may inspect the food premises if required.
- The FSSAI will issue the FSSAI registration certificate when it is satisfied that the company meets all the required criteria. The applicant can download the FSSAI registration certificate from the FoSCoS portal.
The company representatives can also apply for the FSSAI registration/license offline by getting the Form-A or Form-B from the Commissioner of Food Safety and submitting the filled application with documents to the Food Safety Department/Office.
Documents Required for Obtaining an FSSAI License
The documents that the fruit company must submit to obtain FSSAI registration are as follows:
- ID proof of the food business operator.
- Certificate of Incorporation.
- Proof of possession of company premises, i.e. NOC from the owner of the rented premises, rental agreement, etc.
- List of fruits.
The documents that the fruit company must submit to obtain FSSAI state license/central license are as follows:
- ID Proof of the food business operator.
- Proof of office address of the company.
- Import/Export Code (IEC).
- List of all the directors and their ID proof.
- Certificate of Incorporation.
- Memorandum of association and Articles of association.
- NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the municipality.
- List of fruits.
- Reason to obtain a cold storage license to preserve fruits.
- Address and proof of where the fruits are grown.
- Food safety management system plan or certificate.
- Certificate obtained under Coop Act, 1861 or Multi-State Coop Act, 2002.
Benefits of FSSAI License for a Fruit Company
- The FSSAI license aids the fruit company to reach international benchmarks for food safety and security.
- It provides credibility to the company, helping to gain more customers.
- It helps to build a strong relationship with consumers as the FSSAI registration/license assures them of the quality of fruits.
- It enables the company to carry out business without any legal hassles.
- It helps to obtain funds from investors and grow the business.
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