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FSSAI stands for Food Safety and Standards Authority of India which is an organization that monitors and governs the food business in India. It is an autonomous body that is established under the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India.
The FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act) which is a consolidating statute related to food safety and regulation in India. It ensures the food products undergo quality checks thereby curtailing the food adulteration and sale of sub-standard products. It is responsible for the registering and licensing of the Food Business Operators (FBO) in India and it lays down the rules and regulation for running the food business in India.
Every food business operator involved in the manufacturing, processing, storage distribution and sale of food products must compulsorily obtain FSSAI Registration or License.
FSSAI Registration is different from the FSSAI License in the sense that depending on the size and nature of the business, FBO should obtain the necessary registration or license.
It is a 14-digit registration or a license number that is printed on all the food packages. The 14 digit registration number gives details about the assembling state, producer’s permit. This registration procedure is aimed to create more accountability on the FBO to maintain the quality of the food products. The licensing and registration procedure and requirements are regulated by Food Safety & Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Business) Regulations, 2011.
FSSAI registration or license is based on the business volume and premises. Depending upon the installed capacity or turnover or location, applicant premises are eligible for the license such as basic license, central license, and state license.
The common documents required for Basic, State and Central Registration are a passport photo and a photo ID proof.
FSSAI Registration is a basic license and it is required for all the FBO involved in the small-scale food business. This category covers the following businesses:
|1||Food production capacity (other than milk and meat)||Up to 100 kg/ltr per day|
|2||Procurement, handling and collection of milk||Up to 500 ltr per day|
|3||Slaughtering capacity||2 large animals or 10 small animals or 50 poultry birds per day or less|
For all other FBO apart from small-scale business, the FSSAI license has to be obtained. FSSAI License can be classified into two categories i.e. State FSSAI License and Central FSSAI License based on the size of the business whether it is a medium scale or large scale business.
Generally, FBO who are large manufacturers, importers, exporters dealing in large-scale food business need to obtain FSSAI registration from the central government and FBO with small to medium-sized manufacturing units, transporters, marketers, traders, etc., need to take FSSAI registration from the state government. To apply for State License the FBO must have a turnover between Rs 12 lakh to Rs 20 crore.
Other conditions include manufacturing units having a capacity of 2MT per day, dairy units handling business up to 5000 litres per day. 3-star hotels and above, repackers, relabelling units, clubs, canteens all catering business irrespective of their turnover need to apply for the license. The tenure of the license being a maximum of 5 years and a minimum of 1 year.
To apply for a central license the FBO must have a turnover exceeding Rs. 20 crores and needs to have operations in two or more states. All importers and exporters need to apply for this license. The maximum tenure is 5 years and the minimum is 1 year.
There are different forms and documents which are required to be submitted conversion, renewal, and modification of license.
The following kinds of business mandatorily require to obtain an FSSAI Registration/License:
The type of FSSAI license/registration required by each of the kinds of the above-mentioned businesses depends on their eligibility criteria. The eligibility criteria for each kind of business and type of license/registration is provided on the FSSAI.
Obtaining a license can provide the food business with legal benefits, build goodwill, ensure food safety, create consumer awareness, and assist in business expansion. Also, it helps regulate, manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of import food.
Any registered or licensed person under the FSSAI has to adhere to the rules and regulation under the FSS Act, 2006. Food safety officer generally conducts the inspection of the food business operator’s facility and identifies the level of compliance with the regulation using a checklist. Based on the compliance level, the food safety officer marks it as:
Based on the above, the food safety officer might issue an improvement notice where ever required per Section 32 of the FSS Act, 2006. If the business operator fails to comply with the improvement notice, the officer after giving the licensee an opportunity to show cause may cancel his license. Any food business operator aggrieved by an improvement notice can appeal to the State Commissioner of Food Safety. The decision thereon can be challenged through appealing to the Food Safety Appellate Tribunal/High Court.
Listed is the penalty for various type of non-compliance:
|1||Food quality not in compliance with act||2 Lakh Petty manufacturer – 25,000/-|
|2||Sub-standard food||5 Lakh|
|3||Misbranded Food||3 Lakh|
|4||Misleading advertisement or false description||10 Lakh|
|5||Extraneous matter in food||1 Lakh|
|6||Failure to comply with Food safety officer direction||2 Lakh|
|7||Unhygienic processing or manufacture||1 Lakh|
The FSSAI license is essential to commence the food business, similarly, it is imperative to renew the license. The license is issued for a validity of 1 year or 5 years, so the business must apply for renewal 30 days prior to the expiry of the current license.
An improvement notice is if a Food Business Operator fails to comply with the food regulations set in the FSS Act, 2006. An improvement notice can be issued by a Designated Officer (DO) of the food safety department.
If the food business operator has failed to comply with an improvement notice, his licence can be suspended by the DO, after allowing him to show cause.
Yes, any Food Business Operator (FBO) can appeal to the State Commissioner of Food Safety, if he/she is aggrieved by the improvement notice or suspension/cancellation of licence. The decision of the Food and Safety Commissioner shall be final. Alternatively, an FBO can also approach the Food Safety Appellate Tribunal/ High Court of their respective States/UTs to challenge the notice.
Any FBO can appeal to the Commission of Food Safety within 15 days from the date on which a notice of the decision was served.
If you intend to make changes to your license, you can do so. If you wish to make changes to the information in Form C a modification fee may apply which is equal to a one-year license fee. There are no charges levied for changes to other parts of the license.
Yes, you can convert a manually issued license to an online one during the renewal process. You can approach the concerned Designated Officer of that area. A Designated Officer can then create a USER ID and issue a system-generated license number which can be renewed through an online process to you.
The FSS (Licensing & Registration) Regulations, 2011, licenses and registrations are granted to Food Business Operators in a 3 tier system, such as: – Registration – State license – Central License
All Food Business Operators and, including medical stores, have to get FSSAI license/registration. It is mandatory, and non-compliance may result in heavy penalties.
An FSSAI license can be acquired for a period ranging anywhere from 1 year to 5 years. You can while applying for an FSSAI License decide for how long you wish to obtain the FSSAI License. Your fee may also vary according to the period chosen.
You need to renew your FSSAI Registration/license before the expiry of its validity period. In case you end up missing the date of renewal of the application, you will have to apply for a fresh FSSAI license if you wish to continue your food business operations.