Nowadays, the food business is the most trending business. You can find a restaurant or food chain at every corner of the road. It is a profitable business with a one-time investment. With the advent of Swiggy and Zomato, the food business has gained all the more importance. Every food business requires a license. A food license is a document required by every entrepreneur who wishes to start a food business be it food processing, food manufacturing or opening a restaurant. Registration with Food Safety and Standard Authority of India is mandatory as it acts as a proof that the food is within the quality standards and is unadulterated. A food license helps in gaining confidence of the customers and acts an identity card of the business. It may be valid for a minimum duration of one year or up to 5 years. Without the license the business may attract legal consequences, and this will affect the reputation of the business.
Businesses that require a food License-
Wherever there is a business dealing with food, a food license is required. The type and need of a food license depend upon the size of the business. From a food procurer to a food processer everyone requires a license. License is required by food manufacturer, distributer, processer, packager and storage house holder. So, it would be safe to say that from agriculture and poultry farms to restaurants and hotels everyone needs a food license. So, if you’re dealing in a hotel, franchisee, coffee shop, pickle making, dairy food processing and manufacturing, poultry products, etc, you require a license.
Different types of Licenses-
The government has made the registration process online. On registration, the applicant receives a 4-digit registration number. The type of license differs based on the type of business. These include-
FSSAI Basic Registration:
This is a very basic type of a license and is required by businesses that have a small turnover, approximately 12 lakhs or less or is required by a food business operator who is at a nascent stage like a dairy with a capacity of 500 litres or less. Small trades like tea shops, canteens, etc require this license and can upgrade this license if they plan to expand the business. Mostly, petty businesses that have a small-scale presence require this type of license.
FSSAI State Licence:
Businesses that have a turnover of more than 12 lakhs but less than 20 crores require a state license. Examples include 3-star hotels, dairy with a production of 50,000 litres and above. A catering business is dealt as an exception. In the case of the catering business the turnover does not matter and it has to apply for a state license only and not a basic license.
FSSAI Central License:
The above categories of licenses were for small and mid-sized food business. Large food businesses require a central license. It is issued to businesses that supply food to government departments and offices. Entities that deal with food import and export also require this license and businesses having a turnover over 20 crores need to have a central license.
A detailed list of required fssai license documents is as follows:
A few documents are to be kept handy while applying for a food registration. It is important to collect all these documents beforehand in order to avoid delay in the application process. These documents include-
The documents required for Basic Registration includes-
- An identity proof which has the applicant’s photograph (like Aadhar card)
- A passport sized photograph
Other documents that are required for State and Central Registration are-
- Address proof of the applicant
- The import/export code of the business
- A photograph in passport size
- The list of directors/partners in the company/firm
- Certificate of incorporation of the business along with the MOA and AOA
- NOC from the office of the local municipality
- An identity proof that contains the photograph of the applicant
For manufacturing units, certain other documents are also required. They include-
- A blue print of the manufacturing unit
- List of all the plant and machinery installed
- Water test report to check the quality
- List of all the categories of food manufactured
Procedure for Obtaining a License
The procedure for obtaining a license has become very easy as now the license can be obtained online. The steps involved in registration include-
- Form-A must or Form-B depending upon the type of license required must be duly filled and submitted to the food and safety department to initiate the registration process.
- This application might get rejected or accepted and the response is sent by the department within 7 days of the filling of form. In case of rejection, it will indicate the grounds on the basis of which it got rejected.
- If the application is accepted, the department will grant a registration certificate with a 14-digit registration number along with the photo of the applicant.
- Food Business Operator must display the certificate of registration at a recognizable place in the office during the business hours.
Basic Guidelines on the License Number
The license number acts as the identity of the food business reflecting its quality. The business owner must display the FSSAI logo and his license number on the label of the food package. It must also be displayed in a visible place in the place of operation. A food importer needs to display the FSSAI logo and the license number along with his name and address on a sticker which is required to be affixed before customs clearance.
Result of Non – Registration
Non registration might lead to deregistration or closure of the business. As per Section 31 of the Food Safety and Security Act, if you fail to register your entity and obtain a license then you can get imprisoned upto 6 months and made to pay a fine of RS. 5 Lakhs.
So, it is advisable that you must register your business entity and obtain the license. You can take the help of an advocate to simplify the long application process. It is to be kept in mid that non registration entails legal consequences, so one must get their food license without causing any undue delay.