COMPLETE PROCESS OF FSSAI & FOOD LICENSE
|DOCUMENTS|PROCESS|REQUIREMENTS

DEFINITION OF FOOD AS PER FOOD SAFETY AND STANDARDS ACT, 2006 (“FSSAI”)

As per Section 3(j) of FSSAI Act 2006, “Food” means-

“Any refined, semi-processed, or unprocessed content intended for human consumption, including primary foods, genetically modified or engineered foods or foods containing such ingredients, infant food, packaged drinks, alcoholic beverages, chewing gum, and any product, including water used in the food during its manufacture, preparation, or care, but excluding animal feed, live animals unless they’re prepared or processed for putting on the marketplace for human consumption, plants, before harvesting, drugs and medicinal products, cosmetics, narcotic or psychotropic substances.”[1]

FOOD SAFETY- WHY IS IT REQUIRED?

When contaminants like toxic molds, pesticide residues, or dangerous bacteria like listeria contaminate food during the manufacturing process, it is also harmful to human health. Businesses are said to be on the lookout for toxic substances in their products, so as to recall an unsafe product and destroy it, it’s important that food manufacturers trace the actual origin of the ingredient(s) they use and record the destination of their products. In recent times various food frauds have also been protected because of food safety laws. Fraudulent food can put overall public health in jeopardy. It could contain traces of medication or toxic substances, which will cause hypersensitivity. Hence, it’s important to remain a check and monitor on how the foods have been processed.

Food safety laws provide confidence to consumers that the food that they buy and eat will do no harm to them, which they’re shielded from adulteration/ fraud.

THE FAMOUS MAGGIE CASE OF 2015

The Bombay High Court overruled the FSSAI’s nationwide ban on Nestlé Maggi instant noodles on August 13, 2015. The Court ordered Nestlé to perform new safety checks on the commodity before reintroducing it to the market. For freshness check, Nestlé was asked to submit samples of each version of Maggi instant noodles to three labs in Punjab, Hyderabad, and Jaipur.

The High Court ruled that if the lead contents were found to be above the allowable limit even after the new tests, Nestlé would be barred from manufacturing and selling Maggi noodles in India. The results of the new experiments carried out at the three laboratories favoured Nestlé. As a result, in November 2015, Nestlé India resumed the sale of Maggi noodles.

In the Supreme Court of India, the FSSAI challenged the lifting of the ban on noodles. The Hon’ble Bombay High Court made a mistake by allowing Nestlé to choose the Maggi samples for the new tests rather than naming a neutral authority to do so. The FSSAI believed that the Maggi ban should be maintained until a neutral organization selected samples and the experiments were repeated.

THREE CATEGORIES OF LICENSES

BASIC REGISTRATION for turnover less than Rs 12 lakhs.

STATE LICENSE for turnover between Rs 12 lakhs to Rs 20 crores.

CENTRAL LICENSE for turnover more than Rs. 20 crores.

THE FOOD BUSINESS OPERATORS (FBOs)

Food business operators (FBOs) may register with the FSSAI by following the authority’s registration procedures. Food licenses and registration are required to conduct business in India at any point of the production, manufacturing, packaging, transportation, storage, and distribution of food products. That is why it is important for FBOs to obtain a license

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ONLINE REGISTRATION AND LICENSE 

FBOs may use the online application framework to register their company. To acquire the licensee, there is no need to submit the application by mail or personally visit the center. The FBO must sign up and enter the FSSAI after visiting the website and providing contact information. Following that, the FBO will apply for registration and license by providing the required information and description. If a food business operator meets all of the requirements and follows all of the laws, the regulatory authority will grant them a registration certificate. A food safety inspection of the licensed establishment is conducted by the registering authority at least once a year to ensure that the FBO is following FSSAI rules and regulations.

PENALTIES

  • A penalty of 5 lakh rupees is imposed on any individual or business selling food that is not in accordance with the provisions of the Food Safety Act.
  • Anyone who produces or sells a substandard product for human consumption faces a penalty of 5 lakh rupees.
  • A penalty of 1 lakh rupees is imposed on anyone who produces, shops, imports, or sells foods containing foreign matter.
  • A penalty of upto 2 lakh rupees may be imposed if a food business operator/food product importer fails to comply with the provisions of the Act or statutory authority’s rules and regulations.

FSSAI LICENSE AND REGISTRATION

The FSSAI license is an authorization that allows an organization to sell food commercially. According to the FSSAI website, any food business operator who is in the business of manufacturing, processing, storing, distributing, or selling food must apply for and obtain FSSAI registration. An FSSAI license could be a symbol of a benchmark food quality in addition to serving as a legal certificate. A 14-digit number is assigned to you once you register with the FSSAI. This license will be determined by the size of the company.

ISSUING AUTHORITY OF THE FSSAI LICENSE

The license is issued by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (“FSSAI”). The FSSAI is an autonomous body that reports to the Government of India’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. It was developed under the Food and Safety Standards Act, 2006 (FSSAI Act 2016), which is a consolidated law in India that regulates food and safety.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR AN FSSAI LICENSE-

Form B should be downloaded and filed.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR BASIC FSSAI LICENSE

  1. The food business owner’s photo identification.
  2. Proof of complete ownership of the property.
  3. List of equipment and person in premises.
  4. List of food products (which will be inputs as well as the final menu).
  5. A well-thought-out food safety management strategy.

DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR FSSAI STATE LICENSE

  1. Identification from the government (voter ID card, passport, driver’s license, Aadhar card)
  2. A properly completed and signed Form B by the proprietor, partner, or approved signatory.
  3. The establishment’s blueprint or layout plan contains the detailed specifications (showing the scale in meters) and, as a result, the operation-by-operation area distribution, which could include the establishment’s kitchens or manufacturing areas.
  4. The establishment’s key staff, which may include a list of Directors or Partners/ Executive Members of the Society/ Trust, as well as their complete addresses and phone numbers.
  5. A detailed list of all the equipment and machinery, including individual descriptions.
  6. Government-issued identity and address proof for the proprietor, partner, or director (s).
  7. A list of food types that will be available to customers.
  8. A letter of authority containing key information such as the establishment’s designated responsible person’s name and address.
  9. A study on the water used as a main component in the food production process has been revised.
  10. Legal evidence of ownership of the premises.
  11. A food safety management plan or any certificate of compliance is required. 

POINTS TO REMEMBER- FSSAI REGISTRATION PROCEDURE

Any petty food business operator must register with the FSSAI. As a result, they can register with the Registering Authority (RA) by submitting a registration application along with a fee of INR 100/- per year.

A fee of Rs.100/- is required to be submitted with the application in Form-A.

Firstly, obtain a one-of-a-kind application reference number. The RA can approve or reject the registration after the above step has been completed. Thus, within seven days of receiving the application, which has been registered by the food business operator, the reasons must be reported in writing. If the proposal is approved, the food business owner will begin operations.

The RA can issue an inspection notice if appropriate. Within seven days, an investigation will be ordered. If the inspection process is approved, the inspection will be completed within 30 days.

If the procedure is performed successfully, the registration can be completed, and the FBO can begin operations.

BENEFITS OF HOLDING FSSAI LICENSE-

Obtaining a license will provide legal benefits, build goodwill, ensure food protection, raise customer awareness, and aid in business expansion for a food business.

PRODUCER BENEFITS

LEGAL BENEFITS

It is not accurate that obtaining a food license is a difficult process requiring extensive paperwork and a large sum of money. A company cannot operate under FSSAI rules unless it is properly registered. In reality, with the help of a knowledgeable FSSAI license specialist, obtaining a license is easy. This provides you with a legal advantage over companies that do not have a license. It is important that you obtain correct registration proof in order to avoid paying fines.

BUSINESS EXPANSION

Naturally, as a company, you want to grow into new territories and locations. This implies that you should have gained the confidence of your current client base and that they should feel comfortable purchasing from you. It’s much easier to open a new location and expand your company quickly if you have a valid food license. 

PUBLIC ACCEPTANCE

Having an FSSAI certificate gives your customers trust in your food because it has been approved by the government. You can gain legal rights to sell your food if you have an FSSAI license. You can sell your food without compromising the quality, price, or features of your product.

BUSINESS IMAGE

Every business unit strives to establish a positive reputation in the marketplace in order to reap long-term benefits. Obtaining the food license is one way to build this picture. If you have a valid food license and your rival does not, you would have a competitive advantage in the industry. Furthermore, you should prominently show your licenses on your premises to help you better identify yourself as a legal food establishment.

CONSUMER BENEFITS

Only those food businesses that adhere to a certain level of hygiene in their operations are granted a license by the FSSAI. So, once your business has received an FSSAI new registration, you can use the logo on your menu, pamphlets, packaging, and other materials. Your FSSAI license gives your consumers trust in the quality of your products, increasing the likelihood that they will prefer you over your rivals.

In reality, today’s consumers are extremely concerned about the quality and hygiene of the food they consume. Before making a purchase, several people search for FSSAI enforcement. You have a good legal cushion with a certificate that validates your food standards if they ever have any concerns about the quality of your goods.

Consumers are more aware of the nature of the food they consume. People need to know that what they’re eating is not only nutritious but also of high quality, as the number of diets and healthy eating food choices grow. Consumers have begun to take the food safety norm seriously, particularly in light of the recent controversy with Maggi.

VALIDITY OF FSSAI REGISTRATION

The FSSAI issues food business licenses that are valid for one to five years, depending on the preferences of the Food Business Operator. It is necessary to apply for license renewal 30 days prior to the expiration of the current license. Failure to renew a license until it expires would result in a fine of Rs.100 per day before it is done. If you don’t renew your license by the deadline, your old license will be deactivated.

CONCLUSION

The criterion for bridging the difference between healthy food and adulterated food is the food control safety measure. The food industry requires more flexible requirements that are also effective in the production and selling of food and effectively providing customers with a protective layer. The FSSAI’s position in food quality is critical to the organization’s smooth operation.

  [1]Section 3(j) of FSSAI Act 2006