FSSAI food license

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About FSSAI

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is generally known as FSSAI. It is a regulatory body established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. It is administered by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Government of India. Both these authorities also act as consultants for the FSSAI Food License. FSSAI is in charge of setting standards for food and its processes in India. As well as the authorized body to penalize non-compliant businesses. FSSAI is a legal entity based in Delhi. Its offices are located throughout India to facilitate getting a Food License for the businesses. Sometimes it is also known as the Food Authority of India.

The government’s objective to incorporate FSSAI is to ensure that the food products that are being delivered to the consumers are wholesome and fit for human consumption.

Functions of FSSAI

FSSAI was established to ensure food safety. To achieve this purpose, it has laid down standards for the manufacture, storage, distribution, packaging, sale, export and import of food items. All these standards are well-tested and are backed by science and technology. FSSAI was created with a vision to ensure that the food being consumed by the public is adulteration-free, consumable and healthy.

FSSAI also sets up the formulation and enforcement of various standards for the safety of food. During all processes and stages, starting from producing, manufacturing, transporting, packaging or re-packaging, distributing, retailing, etc.

FSSAI has been authorized by the Food Safety and Security Act of 2006 to regulate as well as frame the provisions to regulate the FBO. It, also, sets up the guidelines for testing food across India and standardizes procedures to be followed by the laboratories.

FSSAI also acts as an advisor to the Central Government with scientific advice and technical support. To achieve this it collects and analyzes data related to contamination, hazards and risks. Helping raise awareness about safe food habits and nutrition, etc., across the general public.

Food License Number

All the Food Business Operators (FBOs), on getting registered with the FSSAI, are provided an exclusive 14-Digit registration number. They must get this printed on every package of the food item, along with the FSSAI Logo. Restaurants, Hotels, and Eateries are required to keep this FSSAI Certificate on display at a prominent place. During all business hours. It shows to the customers that this business, eatery, etc. have gone through various safety checks as per the Act. And assures them that the food they are consuming or buying is safe from contamination and other risks.

Besides, all the e-commerce operators involved in the business of Aggregation and Delivery of Food, are required to display the FSSAI License number of the restaurant or eatery they are delivering for, on their App or portal. Leading examples of these are Swiggy, UberEats and Zomato. Failing to provide this FSSAI Registration number to these Apps will lead to your restaurant business being de-listed from the App. Moreover, such apps have been also instructed by the FSSAI, to provide the restaurant with a rating based on their hygiene level.

Kinds of Food Registration

Under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, any business entity, with operations linked to food, at whatever level or scale, has to get itself registered and get an FSSAI License. The business could be involved in a single step or all stages of manufacturing, wholesaling, supplying, trading, packing or re-packing, labelling or re-labelling, importing or exporting, or even transporting has to go through the FSSAI registration process. Otherwise, it is liable to get charged for non-compliance. FSSAI, additionally, has the authority to shut the business down, prohibit from operating further, penalize or, even, imprisonment of the involved persons or directors.

Whether you are to apply for an FSSAI License or need an FSSAI Registration only, depends on a few determinants. The key elements, taken into consideration, are annual turnover, installed capacity, area of operations, whether limited to one state, have branches, etc. The types of FSSAI are:

  • Basic FSSAI Registration,
  • State Food License,
  • Central Food License.

What is a Food License exactly ?

In order to make sure that food businesses are compliant with the regulations of the food safety department, FSSAI issues a license called the FSSAI License or the FSSAI Certificate. Basically, the FSSAI registration is a 14-digit registration number which is imprinted on the food products or displayed in the shop/store of the food Business along with the FSSAI logo. Here’s an example of the FSSAI Logo and license number engraved on a product.

fssai license

Food License registration has become extremely important for businesses. So much so, that food aggregator and delivery mobile apps for apps like Swiggy, Zomato, FSSAI license should be displayed on their platform along with the hygiene rating of the restaurants.

FSSAI License Swiggy

Therefore, it can be stressed enough that acquiring the FSSAI food license should be a top priority for any food business operator looking to ensure a smooth functioning of operation within their business. The FSSAI certificate is one compliance area where no compromises should be made from the side of the business owner

Eligibility of Food Registration

Below will better explain who is eligible for which type of registration based on the scale of their operation and turnover.

Basic FSSAI Registration

All those businesses with an annual turnover from Rs. 0 to Rs. 12 lakh are required to apply for a Basic Food Registration. 

Thereby, all small scale operators, which are working from and within one particular area, region, city or town have to be registered under FSSAI as Basic FBO. This kind of Basic registration has to be applied to the State. The provisions are as follows:

  • FBO (wholesaler, retailer, distributor, supplier, food vending establishments, Dhaba, hawkers, club, canteen, hotel, restaurants, storage) with an annual turnover of not more than Rs. 12 lakh,
  • Retailers selling food products, with limited operations,
  • Petty manufacturer producing by himself,
  • A makeshift stall selling food items,
  • Vendors distributing food at a social or religious gathering, other than a caterer,
  • Cottage industries involved in food,
  • Manufacturing and/or processing units of vegetable oil by the process of solvent extraction and/or refineries including oil expeller unit. Having a capacity to produce up to maximum 100 kg/litre per day (except milk or meat),
  • Dairy units, involved in procurement/collection/handling/chilling of milk, with a capacity up to 500 litre per day, or up to 2.5 Metric Ton of milk solids per annum,
  • A slaughtering capacity of up to a maximum of 2 large animals or 10 small animals or 50 poultry birds per day.

State Food License

The basic criteria for applying for a State Food License is that the annual turnover of your business is falling somewhere between Rs. 12 lakh up to a maximum of Rs. 20 crores. 

You need to apply for FSSAI State License to the state government where your business is based in. 

The rules governing this license are:

  • FBO (supplier, wholesaler, distributor, retailer, food vending establishments or Dhaba, club, canteen, restaurants) with an annual turnover of between Rs. 12 lakh to up to Rs. 20 crores,
  • Proprietary Foods,
  • Manufacturing and/or processing units of vegetable oil by the process of solvent extraction and/or refineries including oil expeller unit. With an annual turnover between Rs. 12 lacs to Rs. 20 crores,
  • Hotels with up to 4-star ratings,
  • Storages with a capacity of up to 50,000 metric tonnes,
  • Dairy Units (including chilling units), having a capacity to handle or process, between 500 to 50000 litres per day,
  • A slaughtering capacity of more than 2 and up to 50 large animals. Or from 10 and up to 150 small animals. Or daily from 50 to up to 1000 poultry birds,
  • All food processing units other than the ones listed above, including re-packers, with a daily capacity of more than 100kg/litre & up to 2 metric tonnes.

Central Food License

The basic condition to apply for a Central FSSAI Registration is that the annual turnover is of more than Rs. 20 crores. 

The Central Government is the issuing authority here. 

Besides this basic eligibility rule, there are some other elements considered. These include 100% export oriented units, importers, operators associated with the Central Government and related agencies.

The FBOs with multiple branches of restaurants or food joints must apply for a Central Food License. FBOs operating in 2 or more states have to take one Central License for its Registered Head Office and separate license/registration for each branch as per the eligibility criteria applicable to them.

Besides the above, the Central Food License is mandatory for entities delivering food at the airports and seaports.

Following Food Business Owners or FBOs are eligible to apply for FSSAI central license by the regulatory authority:

  • FBO (retailer, distributor, supplier, restaurants) having an annual turnover of more than Rs. 20 crore,
  • Manufacturing and/or Processing units of vegetable oil by the process of solvent extraction and refineries including oil expeller unit, with a daily capacity of more than 2 metric tonnes,
  • Dhaba, club, canteen, and food vending establishments with multiple branches spread in more than one state and an annual turnover of over Rs. 12 lakh,
  • Wholesalers having an annual turnover of over Rs. 30 crores,
  • Hotels rated 5-star or above,
  • 100 % export oriented units involved in food production or processing,
  • All Importers (including the import of food ingredients or additives),
  • Caterers working under Central Government or related agencies such as Railways, Airlines and airport, Seaport, Defence, etc.
  • Storages with a capacity of more than 50,000 metric tonnes,
  • Dairy Units (including chilling units), with a capacity to handle or process, over 50,000 litres per day,
  • A slaughtering capacity of over 50 large animals or more than 150 small animals or more than 1000 poultry birds per day,
  • All food processing units other than mentioned above including re-packers, (except all grains, pulses & cereals milling units) with a capacity of not less than 2 metric tonnes per day,
  • All FBOs involved in producing an article of food or ingredient, using some new technology, process and/or a combination thereof, whose safety has not been established yet by the FSSAI. Or they do not have a history of safe usage. It covers the food items being introduced in the country.

Benefits of FSSAI Registration

Getting an FSSAI Certificate for your business may prove to be beneficial, not a burden. Here’s how:

    1. Consumer awareness:The consumers, nowadays, are more alert and informative about the quality of the food which they consume. With the increase in options available for healthy food and eateries, consumers want to know as to the contents of what they are taking in. Whether it is safe and of really good quality? Besides, recent controversies of some high-class brands producing and delivering sub-standard food or using unapproved substances, the consumers are taking seriously the standards of food safety. Therefore, those FBOs who have a Food License have an added advantage of a solid and loyal customer base.
    2. Legal Advantage:If you think that getting an FSSAI registration is costly, time-consuming and inconvenient. That it is only a document. And if you have been avoiding getting the license. You must analyze thoroughly and you’ll realize that the ends justify the pain. The expense is too small when compared to the penalties that can get imposed upon for not adhering to the law. The actual cost to obtain the license comes to be too less. Moreover, there is help available, through consultancies that provide professional help. Therefore, you must get the license before you officially open your business.
    3. FSSAI Logo:Upon getting the certificate, you can put the FSSAI logo to use and enhance sales. You can advertise and publicize the superior quality of your product over others. This gives you an edge over FBOs operating without an FSSAI registration. The FSSAI logo is a mark of validity and an assurance to your consumers. Careful and aware customers prefer to purchase only those articles that have the FSSAI logo. It generates goodwill and brand name for your business.
    4. Business Expansion:An FSSAI Registration or License will help you at the time of business expansion into other areas or outlets. The goodwill and the qualification of the Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) will make it convenient and effortless to expand. Further, the certificate facilitates the process of applying for and getting bank loans that boost your business growth.

Documents required for applying for FSSAI Registration

  • Photo Identity of Promoters of the Food Business
  • Evidence of possession of premises (Rental Agreement / Utility Bill)
  • Partnership Deed /Memorandum of Association/ Certificate of Incorporation / Articles of Association
  • A list of Manufacture food products or processed or stored
  • Food safety management system plan
  • Signed and Completed Form-B

Procedure for FSSAI Registration

  • Initially, Form A has to be submitted to the food and safety department.
  • Your application may be selected or rejected by the department within 7 days from the application date.
  • If the application is accepted, you will be granted a registration certificate along with the registration number and photo by the department.
  • Now, every FBO must prominently display the FSSAI registration at the place of business during the working hours.

Benefits of getting a Food License

Getting an FSSAI Certificate for your business may prove to be beneficial, not a burden. Here’s how:

  1. Consumer awareness:The consumers, nowadays, are more alert and informative about the quality of the food which they consume. With the increase in options available for healthy food and eateries, consumers want to know as to the contents of what they are taking in. Whether it is safe and of really good quality? Besides, recent controversies of some high-class brands producing and delivering sub-standard food or using unapproved substances, the consumers are taking seriously the standards of food safety. Therefore, those FBOs who have a Food License have an added advantage of a solid and loyal customer base.
  2. Legal Advantage:If you think that getting an FSSAI registration is costly, time-consuming and inconvenient. That it is only a document. And if you have been avoiding getting the license. You must analyze thoroughly and you’ll realize that the ends justify the pain. The expense is too small when compared to the penalties that can get imposed upon for not adhering to the law. The actual cost to obtain the license comes to be too less. Moreover, there is help available, through consultancies that provide professional help. Therefore, you must get the license before you officially open your business.
  3. FSSAI Logo:Upon getting the certificate, you can put the FSSAI logo to use and enhance sales. You can advertise and publicize the superior quality of your product over others. This gives you an edge over FBOs operating without an FSSAI registration. The FSSAI logo is a mark of validity and an assurance to your consumers. Careful and aware customers prefer to purchase only those articles that have the FSSAI logo. It generates goodwill and brand name for your business.
  4. Business Expansion:An FSSAI Registration or License will help you at the time of business expansion into other areas or outlets. The goodwill and the qualification of the Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS) will make it convenient and effortless to expand. Further, the certificate facilitates the process of applying for and getting bank loans that boost your business growth.

Non-Compliance

All Food Business Operators (FBOs) have to comply with the rules and regulations, as laid down and updated from time to time, under the FSSAI. These are statutory obligations. FSSAI conducts random checks, investigations, and tests of the product or the process. A Food Safety Official, generally, would inspect the facility, safety as well as the quality of the food product or process. He has the authority from FSSAI to inspect the working conditions along with the food handling techniques of the operators, associates, and staff.

Thereafter, he ascertains a level, based upon how compliant the business is, with the regulations as set by the Food Authority, using a checklist. Based on the checklist, the Official marks a level for the FBO as:

  • Compliance (C),
  • Partial compliance (PC),
  • Non-compliance (NC), or
  • Not applicable/Not observed (NA).

Additionally, the Food Official might issue an Improvement Notice, explaining the areas, steps or stages that need rectification. If the FBO fails to adjust to these, within a stipulated time, a Show Cause Notice is sent. 

This Show Cause Notice mentions a date of hearing by which this FBO has to prove, supported with documentary evidence, why it could not undertake the amendments or alterations. If the proofs are rejected, or the FBO fails to respond to the Improvement Notice, within the specified time, its FSSAI number will get canceled.

In case the aggrieved FBO feels that the improvement notice is biased or false, it has the option to file an Appeal with the State Commissioner for Food Safety.

The decision, by the State Commissioner, thereafter, can be challenged by appealing to the Food Safety Appellate Tribunal or the high court.

The Penalty of Non-Compliance

If found Non-Compliant, the FBO will get penalized. Whether it is a private or a public sector unit. FSSAI penalty structure is uniform for all. Below is a list of FSSAI penalties for an FBO found non-compliant to the provisions:

  • If the business is operating an establishment without taking an FSSAI certificate, the act is punishable under law. The FBO may face imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs. 5 lakh for this.
  • If the FBO is selling the sub-standard quality of food articles, it may be charged for an amount up to Rs. 5 lakhs. In such a case, the person selling the sub-standard articles, either himself or by a person working on his behalf, would be held accountable.
  • The business selling misbranded goods, either himself or by a person working on his behalf, may be fined up to Rs. 3 lakh.
  • All the FBOs involved in sales, packers, storage, distributions, or importing of Food Articles containing superfluous or extraneous matter, a penalty may get levied of Rs. 1 lakh.

The penalty mentioned in the above points may differ, according to the circumstances. In extreme cases, where death occurs due to consumption of the particular Food Article, the punishment may extend to Rs. 5 lakh or even imprisonment, depending upon the severity and aggregate of the harm caused.

FSSAI License Renewal

An FSSAI Registration or License is valid for anywhere from 1 year to 5 years, as per the application filed. So you need to get your certificate renewed. This must be done at least 30 days prior to its expiry. Below is the process involved:

Documents

  • Form – A or B, as applicable,
  • Declaration by the Proprietor, Partners or Directors, that they will comply with the Rules and Regulations under FSSAI, as updated from time to time,
  • Photo ID proof of the Proprietor, Partners or Directors,

Verification 

FSSAI officials will check the details provided in the application form. They might even visit and conduct a physical inspection of the premises and/or examine the machinery & equipment. They’ll verify the working and validity of the Food Safety Management System (FSMS). Whether it has not become out-of-date. They will inspect whether the documents and details provided in the form are authentic or not.

Renewal of your Food License

If the FSSAI officials are satisfied with their investigations and inspections. And that the provisions of the FSSAI are being met. Your FSSAI number will get renewed. 

Remember, the maximum period the renewal certificate would be valid for is 5 years.

Important Notes

  1. Food License or Restaurant License is a statutory obligation that is compulsory for all FBOs.
  2. The Name mentioned in the Application Form (A or B) will be the name in the Food License Certificate. So make sure it is clearly and correctly spelled.
  3. You will receive all further communication on the mobile number and E-mail Id filled in the Application Form, so make sure these are active.
  4. After applying, a unique reference ID will be generated. This ID will be used in all further processes for obtaining the FSSAI certificate.
  5. If the operations of the FBO, e.g. a restaurant, expand to more than one state, a Central FSSAI license has to be procured for the main Branch/Head Office. And a State License or Basic Registration for each branch.
  6. A single unit needs a single certificate only. Whether it is handling/producing different varieties or various processes. Just make sure that the Form (A or B) mentions all the Food Items and the Processes.
  7. A Central License has to be obtained by importers for the address mentioned on their Import Export Code (IEC).
  8. Fee payment, as prescribed.

Consequences of Non-renewal of FSSAI License

The FSSAI online registration of the food business is mandatory for compliance with the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. FSSAI has requested that all FBOs should apply for renewal within 30 days before the current license expires.
If in case, the application for the renewal of the license isn’t submitted within the stipulated time, the Food Business is charged a penalty of ₹100 per day that they fail to apply for the same. In addition to this, FSSAI might also decide to deem the license as expired and FBO might have to apply for a fresh license. Not only does this tarnish your reputation as a Food Business in the eyes of the law, but it will also cost your business much more to apply for a new license as compared to filing for renewal.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of businesses need an FSSAI license?
I am planning to open an import-export unit. Do I need an FSSAI License?
Which type of FSSAI License do I need to apply for my 100% Export Oriented Unit?
What is the difference between the FSSAI State License and FSSAI Central License?
What if my work is spread in more than one State?
My FBO is located in one place only. So I need only one registration, right?
What is the validity of the FSSAI registration?
Are any microbiological guidelines for food in India set by the FSSAI?
What are functional foods products, food supplements, energy drinks, and/or nutraceuticals? Do these come under FSSAI too?
What is Restaurant License?
Who gets an Improvement Notice for FSSAI Registration?
What is meant by Levels of Compliance for FSSAI?
What happens with the FBOs found to be Non-Compliant or Not Observed?
What is a food recall?
What if I want to appeal against the Improvement or Suspension Notice issued by the Designated Officer (DO)?
What is HACCP?
How does HACCP work?
Who can use HACCP?
What is the maximum penalty for breach of regulations linked to the incorrect or misleading labeling of food articles?
How do I apply for the renewal of my FSSAI license?
What if I didn’t apply for renewal of FSSAI registration in time?
Who needs to file FSSAI annual return?
What is Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS)?
Who orders and conducts checks or inspections, before or after the certification?
Which agencies have been authorized to inspect FBOs on behalf of FSSAI?
How many times the premises have to be inspected in a year?
Does seal & bottled water come under FSSAI?