What You Need to Know Before You Start Your Own Food Business

Food is an essential part of everyone’s life. But how would the consumers of the food item know if it is safe for them or not? It is the food business owner’s or the manufacturer’s responsibility to ensure that the food they are selling is safe.

To do that they have to get certified and licensed by the FSSAI. Without the FSSAI food license, these business owners are prohibited from selling food items.

What is an FSSAI food license?

FSSAI stands for the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. It was established by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. It was established under the provisions of the Food Safety and Standards Act (FSSA) of 2006.

The Food Safety and Standards regulations were first published in the year 2011 on the 1st of August, which explained the process of registering and obtaining the FSSAI food license.

The food licensing is mandatory to be obtained by food business operators to ensure that they are abiding by the food safety laws and to make sure the food they are selling in the country meets the safety and quality standards.

It is highly essential that the traders, manufacturers, hotels, restaurants, food vendors, and caterers obtain the FSSAI food license and print the 14 digit license number on their products.

Depending on the type of business they own, they can get a central/ state FSSAI food license. There are about 112 NABL accredited and FSSAI authorized labs in India, that assures the best quality for testing of food for the domestic and export markets.

What are the units that can obtain a central/ state FSSAI license?

  1. Dairy units, including milk chilling, handling, and processing units.
  2. Vegetable oil-producing units, solvent extraction, and refining units, vegetable oil processing units.
  3. Meat slaughtering and meat processing units.
  4. Food processing and food packaging units.
  5. Food relabelled and repacking units.
  6. Proprietary food and export units.
  7. Restaurants and hotels (state license only)

How to obtain an FSSAI food license?

  1. The food business owner has to first register themselves with the registering authority along with an application form and applicable fees.
  2. Within seven days of receiving the application, the FSSAI will review the application and may grant or reject the application. The reasons for the rejection of the application will be stated in writing.
  3. If the FSSAI license is granted, the food business owner can go ahead and start establishing his business.
  4. In some cases, within seven days of applying for the license, a notice for inspection can be issued. Within 30 days of the issue of notice, the inspection will be conducted, and if the inspector is satisfied, he will grant the FSSAI

Documents required for applying for central/ state FSSAI license:

  1. Application form A or B (A for basic FSSAI registration, B for central/ state food license), completed and signed by the concerned business owner.
  2. Two passport-sized photographs.
  3. PAN card copy of the business owner and partners.
  4. Proof of possession of the premises.
  5. Certificate of incorporation of the company.
  6. The complete list of food items that will be used in the business.
  7. Plan for the management of food safety.
  8. License copy of the equipment and machinery used in the production of food.
  9. Proof of annual turnover of the food business.
  10. Import/ export code (if applicable).

How much is the fee to obtain the central/ state license?

Central license:

  1. 7500 for acquiring new license/ renewal/ modification of the license.
  2. 10 for obtaining a duplicate copy of the license.

State license:

  1. 5000 for companies exceeding production of 1MT and for milk units ranging between 501 – 2500 MT.
  2. 3000 for companies below production of 1MT and milk units ranging between 250 – 500 MT.
  3. 5000 for hotels ranging up to 4 stars.
  4. 2000 for foodservice providers such as restaurants, canteens, clubs, etc.

Why is an FSSAI food license required?

The FSSAI food license is required to ensure the quality of food being produced meets the food safety laws and regulations that are set by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Why choose an FSSAI Licensed food laboratory?

The food testing lab that is authorized by the FSSAI to test the food samples for microbial activity, nutritional labeling, residual drugs, residual pesticides, toxins, adulterants, other genetically modified organisms, etc., provide test results that are 100% reliable.

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Mashum Mollah

Mashum Mollah is an entrepreneur, founder and CEO at Viacon, a digital marketing agency that drive visibility, engagement, and proven results. He blogs at MashumMollah.com.

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