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FSSAI Meaning

FSSAI is basically the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. A regulatory body, established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Both, Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and Government of India act as the administrators and the consultants for the FSSAI Food License. It is the responsible body for setting standards for food and its processes, along with having the authority to penalize non-compliant businesses. FSSAI is a legal entity based in Delhi, with offices located throughout India to ease businesses get their Food License. Sometimes it may also be referred to as the Food Authority of India.

The aim 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 incorporated to facilitate food safety. For the purpose, it has laid down standards for the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import of food items. All these standards have been tested and have the back-up of science. FSSAI was created with a vision to ensure that the food item is adulteration-free, consumable and healthy.

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

FSSAI, as empowered by the Food Safety and Security Act of 2006, has to regulate as well as frame the procedure to regulate the FBO. It sets up the guidelines for testing of food across India, and standardized procedure to be followed by the laboratories.

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

Kinds of FSSAI Registration

Under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, any business entity, having operations related to food, at whatever level or scale, has to register itself and get an FSSAI License. The business could be involved in any single step or all stages of manufacturing, wholesaling, supplying, trading, packing or re-packing, importing or exporting or even transporting has to go through the FSSAI registration process. Else, it might get charged with non-compliance. FSSAI also has the authority to shut the business down, the prohibition of operating further, penalties, up to imprisonment of the involved persons or directors.

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

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

Eligibility of Food Registration

Let’s understand 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 of less than Rs. 12 lakh are required to apply for a Basic Food Registration. So all small scale operators, that are operating from and within one particular city or town have to be registered under FSSAI. The application form has to be filed with the State. The provisions are as follows:

  • FBO (wholesaler, retailer, distributor, supplier, food vending establishments or Dhaba, club, canteen, hotel, restaurants, storage) with an annual turnover of not more than Rs. 12 lakh,
  • Retailers selling food products, with limited operations,
  • Petty manufacturers operating by himself,
  • A temporary stall selling food items,
  • Individual distributing food at a social or religious gathering, other than a caterer,
  • Cottage industries dealing in food,
  • Manufacturing and/or Processing units of vegetable oil by the process of solvent extraction and refineries including oil expeller unit,
  • Having a capacity to produce up to 100 kg/litre per day (except milk or meat),
  • Dairy units, involved in procurement/handling/collection/chilling of milk, with a capacity of not more than 500 litre per day, or up to 2.5 Metric Ton of milk solids per annum,
  • A slaughtering capacity of not more than 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 to Rs. 20 crores. You need to apply to the state government where your business is based in. The rules governing this license are:

  • FBO (wholesaler, retailer, distributor, supplier, 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 refineries including oil expeller unit, having a turnover between Rs. 12 lacs to Rs. 20 crores per annum,
  • Hotels up to 4-star ratings,
  • Storage having a capacity of up to 50,000 metric tonnes,
  • Dairy Units, including chilling units, with a capacity to handle or process, between 500 to 50000 litres per day,
  • A slaughtering capacity of more than 2, up to 50 large animals or from 10 to up to 150 small animals or from 50 to up to 1000 poultry birds per day,
  • All food processing units other than mentioned above including re-packers, with a capacity of more than 100kg/litre & up to 2 metric tonnes per day.

Central Food License

The basic condition to apply for a Central FSSAI Registration is having a turnover of more than Rs. 20 crores per annum. The Central Government is the issuing authority here. Besides this basic eligibility rule, there are more standards to be followed. 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 are required to apply for a Central Food License. FBO operating in two or more states has to obtain one Central License for its Registered Head Office and separate license/registration for each branch as per the applicable eligibility criteria.

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

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

  • FBO (retailer, distributor, supplier, restaurants) with 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, having a capacity of more than 2 metric tonnes per day,
  • Dhaba, club, canteen, and food vending establishments having multiple branches in more than one state and a turnover of over Rs. 12 lakh,
  • Wholesalers with an annual turnover of over Rs. 30 crores,
  • Hotels with a 5-star rating or above,
  • 100 % export oriented units engaged in food production or processing,
  • All Importers (including those importing food ingredients or additives),
  • Caterers located under Central Government or related agencies such as Railways, Air and airport, Seaport, Defence, etc.
  • Storage having a capacity of up to 50,000 metric tonnes,
  • Dairy Units, including chilling units, with a capacity to handle or process, more than 50,000 litres per day,
  • A slaughtering capacity of more than 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, cereals & pulses milling units) with a capacity of more than 2 metric tonnes per day,
  • All FBOs involved in manufacturing an article of food or ingredient, using some new technology, process or a combination thereof whose safety has not been established yet by the FSSAI or they do not have a history of safe use. It includes the food item being introduced for the first time in the country.

Documents required 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 15 days from the application date.
  • The final approval or the issuance of license may that 1-6 months based on department processing or application availability
  • 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 FSSAI Registration

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

    1. Consumer awareness:The consumers, nowadays, have become more alert and informative about the quality of the food which they consume. With the increase in food options available for healthy eating, consumers are curious to know as to the contents of what they are taking in. Whether it is safe and of really good quality? Moreover, recent controversies of some high-class brands producing and delivering tainted and sub-standard food, the consumers are taking the food safety standard seriously. Thus, FBOs with the Food License get an added advantage of a solid and increased customer base.
    2. Legal Advantage:In case you feel that getting an FSSAI registration is expensive, time-consuming and inconvenient. That it is only a document. And if you are trying to avoid getting the license. You must look closely and you’ll realize that the process is not so cumbersome. A compared to the penalties that can get imposed upon, this expense is very small. The actual cost to obtain the license is much less. Besides, there is help available, through the consultancies that provide professional help. Therefore, it is advisable to get the license before you officially open your business.
    3. FSSAI Logo:Upon getting the license, you can put the FSSAI logo to use. You can advertise and publicize the superior quality of your food over others. This gives you an edge over those FBOs operating without a license. The logo is a mark of validity and also an assurance to your consumers. Selective and aware customers want to purchase only those articles that have the FSSAI logo. It develops goodwill and brand name for your business.
    4. Business Expansion:An FSSAI Registration 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 will make it easier and effortless to expand. Moreover, the license facilitates the process of applying for and getting bank loans that are essential to spread your business.

Food License Number

All those Food Business Operators (FBOs) registered with the FSSAI have been provided with an exclusive 14-Digit registration number. It is mandatory to get this printed on every packaging of the food item, along with the FSSAI Logo. Restaurants and Eateries are required to put this FSSAI Certificate on display at a prominent place, during all business hours. It demonstrates to the customers that the business has gone through different safety check under the Act, and ensures them that the food they are having, is safe to consume.

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

Food License Renewal

Once you have received your FSSAI Registration, please note that the period for its validity is anywhere from 1 year to 5 years, as per the application filed. So there arises a need for getting a renewal for your Registration. This must be done at least 30 days before its validity expires. Below is the process involved:

Documents

  • Form # A or B, as required,
  • Declaration by the Proprietor or Director, that they will comply with the updated Rules and Regulations under FSSAI,
  • Photo ID proof of the Proprietor or Director,

Verification

FSSAI officials will verify the details provided in the application form. They might even visit and conduct an inspection of the premises and/or examine the machinery & equipment. They’ll check the working and validity of the Food Safety Management System, whether it has not become obsolete. They will inspect that 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 inspections. And that the guidelines of the FSSAI are being followed. Your FSSAI License will get renewed. Again, the maximum period it would be valid for is 5 years.

Important Notes

  1. Food License or Restaurant License is a statutory legality that is mandatory for all FBOs.
  2. The Name mentioned in the Application Form (A or B) will be the name in the Food License. So make sure it is correctly spelled.
  3. You will receive the communication on the mobile number and E-mail Id filled in the Form, so take care that these are active.
  4. After submission of the application, a unique reference ID will be generated. This ID will be used in all further processes for obtaining the food license.
  5. If the operations of the FBO, e.g. a restaurant expand beyond one state, a Central FSSAI license has to be procured for the main Branch/Head Office. And a State License for each branch.
  6. A single unit needs to get a single Food License 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 on their Import Export Code (IEC) address.
  8. You need to pay the Fees, as prescribed.

Non-Compliance

All Food Business Operators have to comply with the laid down rules and regulations under the FSSAI. These are statutory requirements. And FSSAI may conduct random checks or tests of the product or the process. This Food Safety Official, generally, inspects the facility, safety as well as the quality of the food product or process. He has the authority to check the working conditions along with the food handling techniques of the operators or employees.

Thereafter, he ascertains a level, for the business is compliant 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)
  • Not applicable/Not observed (NA)

Additionally, the Official might issue an Improvement Notice, suggesting the areas that need rectification. If the FBO fails to conform to these, the Official sends a Show Cause Notice.

This Notice mentions a date of hearing by when the FBO has to prove, supported with documentary evidence, why it could not undertake the amendments. In case the proofs are rejected, or the FBO fails to respond to the Improvement Notice, within the stipulated time, the Official may cancel its License.

The aggrieved FBO has the option to file an Appeal with the State Commissioner for Food Safety.

The decision, by the State Commissioner, thereon 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 face certain penalties. Whether it is a private or a public entity. FSSAI penalty structure is uniform for all of them. Below is a List of FSSAI penalties for an FBO doesn’t conform to the rules and regulations:

  • If the FBO is operating an establishment without acquiring an FSSAI license, the act is punishable under law. The FBO may face imprisonment and a penalty up to Rs. 5 lakh for the same.
  • If the business is selling the sub-standard quality of food articles, the FBO may be charged for an amount up to Rs. 5 lakhs. In such a case, any person selling the sub-standard goods, either himself or by a person working on his behalf, would be held accountable.
  • A person or an FBO selling misbranded goods, either himself or by a person working on his behalf, may have to pay a penalty of up to Rs. 3 lakh.
  • All the FBOs involved in sales, 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 vary, depending upon the circumstances. An extreme case, where death occurs due to consumption of the particular Food Article, the punishment may increase to Rs. 5 lakh or even imprisonment, depending upon the intensity and aggregate of the harm caused.

FSSAI License Renewal

The validity of the Food License issued by FSSAI, the food regulatory body has validity of 1 year and can be extended to a maximum of 5 years. Once the validity of the license has expired, the Food Business Operator(FBO) is obligated and eligible for a food license renewal. The FSSAI renewal procedure is simple and should be done as soon as possible to avoid being penalized. As per the guidelines issued by FSSAI, the food safety registration has to be renewed 30 days before the expiry of the current FSSAI license. At FSSAIFoodLicense, we help FBOs with FSSAI online registration as well as with the FSSAI renewal procedure.

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

Which businesses need to apply for an FSSAI license?
Which kind of FSSAI registration do I need to apply for? State or Central?
What if my business is spread in more than one State?
I am producing from one address only. How many applications do I need to fill?
Does water sold in packaged bottles come under FSSAI?
Does FSSAI have any microbiological guidelines for food in India?
What are energy drinks, functional foods products, food supplements, and/or nutraceuticals? Are those covered under FSSAI as well?
What is Restaurant License?
Can a caterer start the business with a Basic FSSAI Number?
What are the Levels of Compliance for FSSAI?
What happens with the FBOs found to be Non-Compliant?
Who gets an Improvement Notice for FSSAI Registration?
What if the Improvement or Suspension Notice is biased and incorrect?
What is a food recall?
What is HACCP?
Who can use HACCP?
How does HACCP work?
What is the maximum penalty for breach of regulations linked to the labeling of food articles
How do I get my FSSAI license renewed?
What are the rules about FSSAI annual return?
What is Food Safety Management Systems?
Who conducts checks or inspections, before or after the certification?
How many times the premises would be examined in a year?
Is FSSAI License required for importer & exporters?