The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, better known as the FSSAI, is responsible for maintaining the utility of food items sold within the country. The autonomous body regulates, keeps track of, and monitors all food businesses in India. The FSSAI works under the Indian Government’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and is responsible for food safety and security within the country. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 helped in the formation of the FSSAI. In this article, we will take a look at the food license FSSAI registration, and the validity of the FSSAI license in India.

What is the FSSAI registration?

The FSSAI works as per the FSS Act and helps govern and monitor food businesses in India to ensure food safety and regulation within the country. The FSSAI license helps in proving that the registered business adheres to FSSAI standards and delivers safe and hygienic food to customers. The organisation is also responsible for ensuring businesses undergo quality checks to maintain the required safety standards. Having such a registration system helps in preventing food adulteration and improves the quality of food items sold in the country. The Indian government has made it mandatory for all Food Business Operators to register with the FSSAI and comply with its guidelines and regulations.

Why obtain an FSSAI Registration?

All food business operators, including ones involved in manufacturing, storing, processing, transportation, distributing, or selling food products, must mandatorily register with the FSSAI. Registering with the FSSAI provides the following benefits:

  1. Improves your business’s credibility and trustworthiness
  2. Helps prove to your customers that you are committed to providing high-quality products
  3. Improved customer relations and more sales
  4. Prevent legal trouble and stay compliant with the law
  5. Receive help from the government in terms of seminars, talks, and training programs
  6. Improves the accountability of FBOs leading to a better quality of food products sold in India
  7. Makes it easier to export your products expand to foreign markets

Is the FSSAI registration the same as a license?

No, the FSSAI allows businesses an option to apply for three types of licenses:

  1. Basic License: For small food businesses that make less than INR 12 lakhs a year
  2. State License: For medium-sized businesses that make between INR 1 lakhs and INR 20 crores
  3. Central License: For large food businesses that make over INR 20 crores a year.

Also, any business that operates in more than one state requires a Central FSSAI license irrespective of its turnover. Hence, an FSSAI Registration is different from an FSSAI License as they are used for businesses of varying sizes and operational strength. The 14-digit registration number issued by the FSSAI must be printed on all food products produced by the company, irrespective of the license type. This registration number helps inform consumers about the business’s permit and state of assembly of the product.

What businesses can obtain an FSSAI Registration?

An FSSAI registration covers the following businesses:

Those who are involved in the production, selling, or distribution of food items. So all food businesses, from hotels to dairy farms, require an FSSAI license to function legally. 

What documents do you need to obtain an FSSAI License?

  1. Duly filled and signed Form B
  2. Valid Address proof
  3. List of food categories and products
  4. Layout plan of the plant
  5. List of equipment used in the plant
  6. NOC from municipality
  7. Incorporation certificate of the business
  8. List of directors/partners and their ID and Address proofs
  9. MOA and AOA
  10. Water test report
  11. Import Export Code, if the company has plans to export
  12. Passport size photograph of the applicant
  13. Proof of possession of premises
  14. NOC from the manufacturer for packaging firms
  15. Food safety management system certificate

What is the FSSAI License Validity Period in India?

An FSSAI license remains valid for either one year or five years. All businesses must renew their application at least 30 days before the date of expiry of the license. You can decide the period of validity at the time of applying for an FSSAI License. The processing fees and documents may vary depending on the period you choose to apply for. The entire process can take anywhere between 15 to 20 days to complete. Since operating without a license is a crime, businesses should apply well in advance to prevent legal hassles.

To make it easier for businesses to renew their license, the FSSAI has introduced an online portal named the Food Licensing and Registration System. The FLRS also has five regional offices to help with the issue of licenses and entitlements. These five offices are as follows:

  1. North – New Delhi
  2. East – Kolkata
  3. North East – Guwahati
  4. West – Mumbai, and Kerala
  5. South Region – Chennai

What is the penalty for non-compliance?

The government has made it mandatory for all FBOs registered in India to obtain an FSSAI registration or license. Any FBO that fails to register or adhere to the guidelines specified by the FSSAI will attract fines and other penalties. Food safety officers conduct routine inspections to ensure businesses maintain compliance. After their inspection, they rate businesses under the following categories depending on the level of compliance attained:

  • Compliant 
  • Non-compliant 
  • Partially compliant 
  • Not applicable or not observed 

Depending on the severity of the non-compliance, the food safety officer will issue an improvement notice. If the business fails to comply with this notice, the officer will file a show cause and when left unchecked and go ahead and cancel the business’s license. Here’s a quick look at the common penalties for non-compliance:

  1. Bad Food quality INR 5,000 to INR 2 Lakhs
  2. Sub-standard food INR 5 Lakhs
  3. Misbranded Food INR 3 Lakhs
  4. Misleading advertisement INR 10 Lakhs
  5. Extraneous matter in food INR 1 Lakh
  6. Does not comply with FSO’s orders INR 2 Lakhs
  7. Unhygienic processing or manufacture INR 1 Lakh