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 regulations 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.
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:
The common documents required for Basic, State, and Central Registration are a passport photo and a photo ID proof.
For State and Central license, the following additional documents will be needed:
For all other FBO apart from small-scale businesses, 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 liters per day. 3-star hotels and above, repackers, relabelling units, clubs, canterns all catering businesses 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 the license.
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 regulations under the FSS Act, 2006. The 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.