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What is FSSAI?

Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) of 2006 established FSSAI or Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. It consolidated numerous acts & orders that existed earlier and used to handle food-related issues under different Ministries and Departments. The basic objective of formulating FSSAI has been to lay down science-based standards for items of food and to regulate their manufacture, distribution, sale, storage, and import to ensure the availability of wholesome adulteration-free food for human consumption.

“One Nation One Food Law”

To bring consistency in enforcing food safety regulations and standards, covering all States, the FSSAI initiated its “One Nation One Food Law” program. It has leveraged infotech for enforcement of uniform standards for testing and sampling throughout various States and laboratories, in India.

  • Ensure that investors and food establishments have a constant and positive experience across all States while dealing with the regulatory environment.
  • Set a single reference point for all issues related to food safety and standards, by migrating from multi-departmental, multi-level control to a single line of command.
  • Unification of various laws.
  • Regulate the manufacture, storage, packing, distribution, sale, import or any other stages of food products.
  • Ensure the availability of wholesome and adulteration-free food for human consumption.

Reasons for Establishing the Authority

 
 

FSSAI has been tasked by the FSS Act, 2006 to achieve the below purposes:

  • Frame Regulations to make and impose the Standards and Guidelines about food articles and specifying a suitable system of enforcing different standards thus introduced.
  • Establish mechanisms and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies working in the field of certifying efficient Food Safety Management System (FSMS) for food businesses.
  • Establish procedures and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories. And notification of the laboratories accredited this way.
  • Provide scientific guidance and technical assistance to different Governments. Aid them in devising policy and rules in sectors having a direct or indirect bearing of food safety and nutrition.
  • Collection and organizing data about food consumption habits, scope, and prevalence of chemical or biological risks, contaminants in food products, and residues of various contaminants in food products. Developing a system for rapid identification of risks and alerts of its rise.
  • Prepare a network for information across the country so that the public, consumers, and Panchayats, may receive swift, credible and honest information about food safety and other issues of concern.
  • Arrange for training programs to persons who are already involved or plan to get involved in the business of food.
  • Contribute to the development and strengthening of international technical standards for food, sanitary and phyto-sanitary standards.
  • Promote awareness in the general public about food safety and standards.

 

Choose From FSSAI Registration or License

 

It is essential that the entities involved anywhere in the food supply chain apply for food licenses/registration. The business entities are categorized into 3 kinds. They must apply according to this division. This grouping is based on their turnover, scale of business and the kind of activity. The businesses/units must apply for either of the Licenses (Central or State) or simply the Basic Registration. The provisions are:
 

FSSAI Basic Registration
This kind of Food Registration is to be applied to the State Government where the business unit is located. Small FBOs and most Start-Ups are covered under this. Criteria for eligibility are as below:

  • Units whose annual turnover does not exceed Rs. 12 lakhs
  • The daily production capacity of food (other than milk or milk products and meat or meat products) does not exceed 100 kg/liter
  • Daily procurement or handling & procurement of milk is up to 500 litres of milk, or,
  • Daily slaughtering capacity of 2 large animals or 10 small animals (including sheep and goats) or 50 or lesser poultry birds.

FSSAI State License
This is, typically, required by the mid-sized companies and units. Criteria is:

  • Annual turnover from between Rs. 12 lakhs to 20 crores, or,
  • Daily production capacity of food (other than milk or milk products and meat or meat products) of up to 500 kg/litres, or,
  • Daily procurement or handling & procurement of milk is up to 5000 litres of milk, or,
  • Daily slaughtering capacity of anywhere between 2 to 50 large animals or 10 to150 small animals or 50 to up to1000 poultry birds.

FSSAI Central License
This is required by large FBOs or units. Criteria for eligibility are:

  • annual turnover of above Rs 20 Crores, or,
  • dairy units (including milk chilling units) with a capacity to handle or treat over 50,000 litres of liquid milk daily or 2500 metric tonnes of milk solid annually, or,
  • vegetable oil-producing units, processing units, and refineries (including oil expeller units) with an installed capacity of more than 2 metric tonnes (MT) daily, or,
  • all slaughterhouses with a capacity to slaughter more than 50 large animals or 150 or over small animals or 1000 or over poultry birds daily, or,
  • meat processing units outfitted to handle or treat more than 500 kg of meat daily or 150 MT annually,
  • 100% Export Oriented Units (EOUs), or,
  • Importers looking to import food items (including food ingredients and additives) for commercial use, or,
  • Businesses operating in more than one State.

 

Annual TurnoverRegistration/License
Upto ₹12 LakhsRegistration FORM A
₹12 lakhs– ₹20 CroresState License FORM B
Exceeding ₹20 CroresCentral License FORM B

Procedure For FSSAI Registration

Basic Registration

  • Every small FBO or start-up shall register itself with the Registering Authority (RA) by submission of an application Form-A, along with the fees as applicable.
  • A Unique Application Reference Number comes to be generated.
  • RA may grant or reject the application – with reasons being specified in writing. Within 7 days of the receipt of the complete application.
  • Once granted, the FBO may commence the business operations.
  • Or, if deemed necessary, the RA may issue a report for inspection. This comes within 7 days. And the date of the inspection must be within 30 days.
  • If in the course of the inspection, the inspecting FSO or agency is content, the FSSAI number will be granted.

 
Procedure for FSSAI Food License (State or Central)

  • Filing of Application Form-B. All associated documents attached and fees, as applicable, paid.
  • Unique Application Reference Number is generated.
  • Now, there are 3 ways possible:
  • 1. If the details provided in the application and the documents submitted are as per the provisions. And FSSAI official is content with them, the FBO can commence its business operations.
    2. Or additional documents may need to be submitted or some other information may be required. That was missing in the application. On this submission, a unique application ID will be generated. Now, if no inspection is ordered for, the FBO may begin operations after 60 days. But, if an inspection is ordered, it would be conducted and a report issued. And then the license will be given within 60 days, if all the rules have been followed. If however, the inspection report is not processed, the FBO may commence business operations after 60 days.
    3. Last situation is that the FBO gets an Improvement Notice. It will also specify a time limit within which the case is to be modified. If the issue is not resolved by that time, the application would be held under suspension. And another date will be announced on the payment of a penalty. If the issue is not corrected still, the application will get cancelled. A new application for Food License can be filed only after 90 days from this cancellation.

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

Non-Compliance

 
 

All businesses that have operations related to food, have to comply with the rules, as introduced and updated from time to time, by the FSSAI. These are statutory obligations that these FBOs must meet. Food Authority conducts inspections and tests at random, of the food articles or the process. At the time of the inspection, the Food Safety Official (FSO) or the agency is authorized to examine the business premises, safety, and quality of the process or the food item. As well as the level of hygiene maintenance. He can analyze the working conditions along with the process of handling food by the operators, associates, and organization.
A level of compliance for the FBO is determined, using a checklist, which is based upon the provisions of the FSSAI. Using this checklist, the FSO identifies a level for the FBO, as either:

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

According to this, a Notice for Improvement may be issued to the FBO. It describes the place or steps where adjustments or changes need to be made. And a time limit is specified for these changes to be completed by. If the FBO fails to incorporate these modifications, within the stipulated time, a Show Cause Notice is given.
This Show Cause Notice provides a date of hearing. On this hearing, the FBO has to explain why it could not improve or change. Documentary proof must be provided with the reasoning. If the proof gets denied, or the FBO fails to respond to the Notice, in time of the hearing date, its FSSAI application will get canceled.
If the FBO has reasons to believe that the Notice of Improvement is biased or distorted, it can Appeal to the Commissioner for Food Safety of that State.
The judgment of the State Commissioner is also not final. FBO can dispute it and approach the Food Safety Appellate Tribunal or the High Court to file the subsequent appeal. The ruling of the tribunal or the court, however, is considered final.


Penalties

If an FBO is observed Non-Compliant with the requirements of the FSSAI, it will get penalized. The penalty structure is constant and applies to everyone. Some of the FSSAI penalties for a non-compliant FBO are listed below:
 

  • If an entity is operating without applying for the Food Safety certificate, this is punishable under the Act. The FBO may face custody and/or a penalty of up to Rs. 5 lakhs.
  • If someone is selling food products of sub-standard quality, a fine of up to Rs. 5 lakhs may be imposed. And the person who is responsible for the sale, either himself or by a person operating on his behalf, would be held liable.
  • The FBO selling mis-branded food items, either himself or by a person operating on his behalf, may be imposed a fine of up to Rs. 3 lakh.
  • For all the entities selling/packing/storage/distributing or importing of Food Items comprising of superfluous or extraneous substance, a fine of Rs. 1 lakh may be imposed.

The fines and penalties listed above may change according to the case.
In extreme ones, where mortality has taken place due to consuming that particular Food Item, the punishment to the responsible FBO may extend to Rs. 5 lakh or even imprisonment, depending upon the gravity of the situation and how much harm has been caused.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Restaurant License?
I can apply for the Food Safety certificate of what duration?
My FSSAI Food Registration or License is valid for how long?
What is the meaning of Food Recall?
What is HACCP?
Which FBOs can implement HACCP?
What is Food Safety Management Systems (FSMS)?
What is the maximum penalty for violation of rules in case of incorrect or misleading labeling of food articles?
How to get the FSSAI certificate renewed?
What if I didn’t apply for the renewal of my FSSAI within the specified time?
FSSAI Annual Returns are to be filed by who?
How to get inspection conducted, for certification or renewal?
How frequently in a year are the inspections held?
What is an Improvement Notice?
What if the Improvement or Suspension Notice is discriminatory and false?
Would my business be inspected when I apply for renewal?
I plan to start a small-sized import-export business. Do I need an FSSAI License?
Which foods are covered under the Non-Specified Category?
Has FSSAI established any microbiological guidelines for food in India?
Are food supplements and energy drinks covered by the FSSAI too?
Who will issue a Food Safety Certificate to FBO for operating under Railways?
Who will issue an FSSAI Food License to FBOs under Airport/Seaport premises?