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An Overview of FSSAI License

In India, FSSAI (Food Safety & Standards Authority of India) is a legal authority that provides an FSSAI License to all FBOs (Food Business Operators) in India. It is compulsory to follow all the rules & regulations prescribed by FSSAI for food quality control by FBOs. Be it food manufacturing, packaging, processing, selling, or distribution, the FBOs need to obtain an FSSAI License to run their business. In India, FSSAI Basic Registration or FSSAI Registration generally covers the small Food Business Operators and it is entirely different from the FSSAI State and FSSAI Central License. FSSAI Basic License or Registration can be obtained digitally by simply filling out the application form for FSSAI Basic Registration from an electronic system known as FoSCoS (Food Safety Compliance System).

What is FoSCoS?

FoSCoS (Food Safety Compliance System) is an improved version of FLRS (Food Licensing & Registration System) which was in 2012 for issuance of FSSAI Licenses. This new enhanced version was introduced because, over the years, users complained of the slow speed of FLRS and software experts resisted new changes on FLRS, thus impeding any further expansion, improvement, and innovation in the licensing system.

Also, FoSCoS is conceptualised on the umbrella system which integrated with FSSAI’s other existing IT platforms such as Food Safety Connect-Complaints Management System, Food Import Clearing System (FICS), Food Safety Compliance via Regular Inspection & Sampling (FoSCoRIS), Indian Food Laboratory Network (InFoLNet), Audit Management System (AMS), Food Safety Training & Certification (FoSTaC), Food Safety Mitra (FSM), etc. These integrations under FoSCoS will be done one by one in future until FoSCoS evolves to from a licensing platform to an integrated compliance platform.

Who are Food Business Operators?

The FBO denotes a person or business that carries out any activities regarding the manufacturing, storage, distribution, and sale of food. It also includes banquet halls with food catering services, import and export of food items, and sale of food additives or ingredients. Further, FBOs are responsible for complying with the provisions of the Act and any rules and regulations applicable to FBOs.

Benefits of FSSAI License in India

In India, the benefits of an FSSAI License are as follows:

  • Consumer Awareness: Nowadays, people have become vigilant regarding the quality of the product they consume. FSSAI Registration assures the food quality and increases the customer base for the company. Consequently, it helps in developing the brand name of the company.
  • Business Expansion: FSSAI License provides more possibilities and opportunities for expansion at any geographic location.
  • Legal Advantage: The FSSAI Certification gives the chance of legal enforcement for any non-compliance.
  • FSSAI Logo: FSSAI logo acts as a mark of assurance that the product is safe to consume.
  • Government Funding: The FSSAI certification assists the Food Business Operators (FBOs) in obtaining the State/ Central Government Funding.
  • Brand Value: A company's brand value automatically increases once it is FSSAI registered.
  • Recognitions from Government: In India, the government recognises the FSSAI Registration as consequential to customer trust and a vast consumer base.

Different Types of FSSAI License

In India, an FBO needs to obtain an FSSAI License of different types from the FSSAI. These licenses vary on the basis of annual turnover, business scale and the nature of the activity. The different types of FSSAI Registration available in India are as follows:

  • Basic FSSAI Registration: It is a basic type of FSSAI Registration needed by small business persons such as retailers, petty food manufacturers, suppliers and distributors. All businesses with an annual turnover of Rs 12 lakhs need to obtain this registration.
  • State FSSAI Registration: An FBO with a turnover between Rs 12 lakh and Rs 20 crore needs to acquire this license. The same turnover limit is applicable for both the FSSAI State Manufacturing License and FSSAI State Trading License.
  • Central FSSAI Registration: The Central FSSAI Registration is applicable for FBOs with an annual turnover above Rs 20 crores. It is also needed to supply food at the government offices or deal with the import or export of food products.

FSSAI Basic Registration

FSSAI State License

FSSAI Central License

The FSSAI Basic Registration is needed by the FBOs having turnover up to Rs 12 lakh.

The State FSSAI License is needed by the FBOs having turnover up to Rs 12 lakh to Rs 20 crore.

The Central FSSAI License is needed for the FBOs having a turnover of more than Rs 20 crore.

Small food business needs this license.

A Medium size food business needs this license.

Large food businesses, food suppliers at the Government Office and importers or exporters of food products need this license.

Form A is required for obtaining this license.

Form B is required for obtaining this license.

Form B is required for obtaining this FSSAI License.

Who can apply for FSSAI Basic Registration in India?

The FBOs carrying on the following types of business are compulsorily required to obtain a Basic FSSAI License:

  1. Petty or small retailers & retail shops such as bakery shops, snacks shops, etc.;
  2. Dairy units, including petty milkman, milk vendors, and milk chilling units;
  3. Slaughtering houses such as lamb meat, mutton shops, meat & chicken shops, etc.;
  4. Cold or refrigerated storage facility;
  5. Supplier, distributor, and wholesaler, and marketer of food products;
  6. Bars, restaurants, and hotels;
  7. Importers & exporters of food products, including food ingredients;
  8. Temporary stalls or fixed stalls involved in the distribution, preparation, storage, and sale of food products such as chat stall, snacks stall, samosa stall, Chinese food stall, sweet stall, juice shops, etc.;
  9. Hawkers who sell freshly prepared food for travelling from one location to another;
  10. All food processing or manufacturing units that include repacking of food;
  11. Transporter of food items or products having a number of vehicles such as refrigerated vans, food trucks, milk tankers, etc.;
  12. Canteen & cafeteria, including mid-day meal canteens;
  13. Dhaba, PG provides food, banquet halls with food catering systems and food stalls in fair or religious institutions;
  14. E-commerce food suppliers, including cloud kitchens.

Eligibility Criteria for Basic FSSAI Registration in India

Following are the eligibility criteria for Basic FSSAI License/Registration in India:

  1. Any Food Business Operation having an annual turnover of not more than Rs. 12 lakh;
  2. Any individual who sells or manufactures any food items by himself;
  3. Small retailer dealing in food products;
  4. Any individual who distributes food in any social or religious gathering except a caterer;
  5. Small scale industries dealing in the food business and the following:
  • Food production capacity (other than meat & milk) – Up to 100 kg or ltr per day;
  • Slaughtering capacity – 2 large animals or 50 poultry birds or 10 small animals per day or less;
  • Handling, procurement, and collection of milk – Up to 500 ltr per day.

Documents Required for Basic FSSAI License in India

Following are some vital documents required for a Basic FSSAI License in India:

  1. Photo identity proof of the food business operators;
  2. Business certificate i.e., Certificate of Incorporation, Partnership Deed, Shop & Establishment License or other Business Registration Certificate;
  3. A detailed plan of the FSMS (Food Safety Management System);
  4. List of all food products processed or manufactured;
  5. Details of account information;
  6. Possession of proof of business premises, i.e., Rental Agreement, NOC from the owner of the rented premises, latest utility bills, etc.,
  7. Supporting documents (if needed) like NOC by Panchayat, Municipality, Health NOC, copy of the license from the manufacturer, etc.

Online Procedure for Basic FSSAI Registration or License

Following is the step by step procedure for obtaining a Basic FSSAI License or Registration:

Step 1: First, the applicant or FBOs must apply online by fining Form-A (Application for Basic Registration) on the FoSCoS portal.

Step 2: The application form should be accompanied by the needed documents. All the relevant documents must be uploaded online on the FoSCoS portal during filling the application or submitted to the concerned depart along with the application physically.

Step 3: The application form for the registration can be accepted/it may be rejected by the Department within 7 days from the filing of an application through the FoSCoS portal. In case the application is rejected, it has to be intimated to the applicant in writing.

Step 4: After submitting the application and documents, the Department will examine the documents submitted and the Department may conduct an examination or inspection of the food premises.

Step 5: If the Department is satisfied that the FBO meets all the required criteria, then it will issue an FSSAI License.

Penalty of Non-Compliance

  • If a Food Business Operator is running a food business without a valid FSSAI License, then he or she may confront the imprisonment for a specified time period along with a fine of up to Rs. 5 lakhs.
  • If a person marketing, trading, importing or storing food products available to the masses, either by himself/by an individual or a person, is found with an unimportant matter, the penalty for such parties is up to Rs. 1 lakh;
  • The business selling misbranded products, either himself or an individual working on his behalf, can be penalised up to Rs. 3 lakh;
  • If the Food Business Operator is selling sub-standard quality food products, it may be charged up to Rs. 5 lakhs. In such conditions, the person selling the sub-standard products, either himself or by an individual working on his behalf, will be held responsible.

Note: The penalty specified in the above points may vary as per the conditions. In extreme instances, where death occurs due to the consumption of a specific food item, the fine may extend to Rs. 5 lakh along with imprisonment, depending upon the harm caused by the product.

FSSAI License FAQs

A FSSAI License remains valid for a minimum of 1 year and a maximum of 5 years. Further, it needs to be renewed at least 30 days before expiry.

According to the FSSAI (Licensing and Registration) Regulations, 2011, FBOs are granted licenses in a 3-tier system, namely, FSSAI Registration, State FSSAI License, and Central FSSAI License.

The main objective of FSSAI is to regulate and keep a check on the quality of the food products or services and businesses engaged in such manufacturing or delivery.

No, there are certain exceptions for FSSAI Registration or license. A Petty retailer is exempted from obtaining FSSAI Registration or License.

The people exempted from obtaining FSSAI License include Itinerant vendor; Small-scale; Cottage; Tiny FBO (Food Business Operator); a temporary stallholder; Hawker; and any such food business.

A Manufacturing Unit needs to obtain State FSSAI License if it has a turnover between Rs 12 Lakhs to Rs 20 Crore. Conversely, it needs to obtain Central FSSAI License if it has a turnover above Rs 20 crores.

For the Multi-Location food business, a separate FSSAI Registration or License is needed for every location.

No, the FSSAI code is a 14-digit numeric code.

In such a case, you need to obtain both Central FSSAI License and State FSSAI Registration. A separate State FSSAI Registration is required for each location.

If an FBO (Food Business Operator) contravenes any provisions or regulations of the FSS Act, 2006, it will be held liable to pay the penalty. Further, the FSSAI Act prescribes punishment for various types of non-compliance.

Yes, as per the guidelines issued by the FSSAI, it is mandatory to display the FSSAI logo and License number on the label or food package.

In the case of imported food products, the importer needs to display the name and address on a sticker of the product before Customs Clearance in addition to the FSSAI logo and License Numbers.

Yes, the status of the FSSAI Registration form can be checked on the official website of FSSAI.

The FSSAI License needs to be renewed at least 30 days before its expiry. For Renewal, the license holder needs to file Form A and B. The fee for a renewal is the same as the fee charged for the issuance of a new license.

In such a case, you need to obtain separate State FSSAI Licenses for each state and 1 common Central FSSAI License.

Yes, one needs to obtain a Central FSSAI License for importing food items in India. The address for the license will be the address mentioned in the IEC Code (Import Export Code).

Yes, all the export units need to mandatorily obtain Central FSSAI License for importing and exporting food items.

Yes, the FSSAI license is mandatory for all kinds of food-related businesses, including Manufacturing, Trading, Transportation, or distribution.

Yes, all the catering businesses need to obtain the FSSAI License, even those operating under the central government.

The catering businesses working under the Central Government mean the ones operating at the Railways and Airport.

The FSSAI Registration process for a catering service or restaurant is similar to getting any other FSSAI license.

Section 48 of the FSSAI Act, 2006, contains the detail of all the offenses and penalties. Further, section 49 to 67 deals with the penalties for Non-compliance.

The term “Recall” denotes an action taken by the Food Business Operators (FBOs) to withdraw any food product from the market, which does not abide by section 28 of the FSS Act, 2006.

Yes, as per the FSS Act, 2006, certain FBOs need to file an Annual Return in the prescribed manner.

The Railways Designated Officers / Food Security Officer grants the FSSAI Registration to the Food Business Operators running under the railway premise.

The Airport Health Organisations (APHO) or Port Health Organisations (PHO) issues the FSSAI Registration to FBOs operating at a seaport/ airport through the Online FLRS (Food Licensing and Registration System).

Yes, all the Food Business Operators, including the medical stores, need to obtain FSSAI Registration/ License.

Yes, any person who wants to import or export from India needs to Central FSSAI License after acquiring IEC Code.

In India, all the FBOs (Food Business Operators) need to obtain a Food License. The term FBOs include all the Food Manufacturer; Re-Packer; Retailer; Trader; Wholesaler; Transporter; Supplier; Importer and Exporter, etc.

For exporting food products outside India, one needs to obtain Central FSSAI License.

According to the FSS Act, 2006, if a start-up decides to operate in the Food Sector, it must obtain FSSAI License for commencing its business.

In India, the nature and the annual turnover of a business act as the key difference between the State FSSAI License and Central FSSAI License.

No, the registration certificate for Basic FSSAI Registration is not valid for the Caterers. They compulsorily need to obtain a State FSSAI License, irrespective of their turnover.

No, one needs to obtain a separate FSSAI Food License for each location based on the nature and annual turnover of the business.

Yes, the sales related to packaged or sealed water comes under the ambit of the FSSAI Act, 2006.

An individual can file his/her complaint about the substandard or unsafe food item to the Food Safety Commissioner of the State. Further, he/she can visit the state FSSAI office as well.

According to the FSSAI Act, 2006, a penalty up to Rs 5 lakhs may be levied for breaching the regulations concerning the labeling of Food Items.

Yes, FBOs need to print FSSAI License Number on the food product they sell, distribute or store.

In India, FSSAI is regulated and governed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in India.

A FSSAI Mark is a logo printed together with the License Number on the Food Items sold by FBOs who have obtained FSSAI License or Registration.

The mark serves as a symbol of assurance and validity that the food product is safe for human consumption. It also signifies that FBOs have complied with all the food standards and regulations stated under the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act, 2006.

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