FSSAI

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) is an agency that oversees and regulates the food industry in India. It is a self-governing body under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare of the Government of India. 

The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 (FSS Act), which is consolidating legislation relating to food safety and regulation in India, created the FSSAI. It implies that food supplies are subjected to quality inspections, reducing food adulteration and the selling of substandard goods. It controls the registration and licensing of Food Business Operators (FBOs) in India.

Registration/License for the FSSAI

Any food business operator who manufactures, processes, stores, distributes or sells food must obtain an FSSAI Registration or License. FSSAI Registration differs from FSSAI Licensing in that FBOs can receive the appropriate registration or license based on the size and scope of their company.

It’s a 14-digit registration or license number that appears on any food product. The 14-digit registration number contains information about the assembling state and the producer’s license. The aim of this registration process is to make the FBO more accountable for maintaining the quality of the food items. The Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, govern the licensing and registration process and requirements.

FSSAI Registration Types

The FSSAI registration or licensing depends on the size of the company and the place. Applicant premises can be eligible for a basic license, central license, or state license, depending on their installed capability, turnover, or place.

REQUIREMENTS FOR FSSAI LICENSE

Apart from small-scale businesses, all other FBOs must receive an FSSAI license. FSSAI Licenses are divided into two categories: State FSSAI Licenses and Central FSSAI Licenses, depending on the nature of the company, whether it is small or big. 

FBO with large manufacturing units, importers, exporters, and other large-scale food businesses must obtain FSSAI registration from the central government, whereas FBO with small to medium-sized manufacturing units, transporters, retailers, dealers, and other small to medium-sized manufacturing units must obtain FSSAI registration from the state government. To be eligible for a State License, an FBO must have a turnover of between Rs 12 lakh to 20 crores

Other requirements include manufacturing units with a capacity of 2MT per day and dairy units with a daily volume of up to 5000 liters. 3-star hotels, repackers, relabeling units, bars, canteens, and all other catering businesses, regardless of turnover, must apply for a license. The license is valid for a period of 5 years and a minimum of one year. 

An FBO must have a turnover of more than Rs. 20 crores and activities in two or more states to qualify for a central license. This license is required for both importers and exporters. The full term is five years, with a one-year minimum.

REQUIRED DOCUMENTS FOR CENTRAL LICENSE

  • Form B duly completed and signed
  • Plan of the processing unit showing the dimensions and operation-wise area allocation   
  • List of Directors/ Partners/ Proprietor with address, contact details, and photo ID
  • Name and list of equipment and machinery used with the number and installed capacity
  • List of food category to be manufactured
  • Authority letter from manufacturer nominated a responsible person name and address
  • Analysis report of water to be used in the process to confirm the portability
  • Source of raw material for milk, meat, etc.
  • Recall plan wherever applicable
  • Ministry of Commerce Certificate for 100% EOU
  • NOC/PA document issued by FSSAI
  • IE code document issued by DGFT
  • Form IX
  • Certificate from Ministry of Tourism  
  • Proof of possession of premises
  • Partnership deed/ affidavit of proprietorship
  • NOC and copy of License from the manufacturer
  • Food safety management system plan or certificate
  • NOC from the municipality or local body
  • Supporting document for proof of turnover and transportation
  • Declaration form

The Advantages of Obtaining an FSSAI Food License

Obtaining a license will offer legal protections, establish goodwill, ensure food protection, raise customer interest, and benefit in market growth for a food business. It also aids in the regulation of import food manufacturing, transportation, delivery, and selling.

FSSAI Inspection Checklist

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issues licenses after a thorough assessment and review of the circumstances under which a Food Business works on a regular basis. FBOs are therefore only qualified for a license if they are expected to meet the Food Safety Act of 2006.

However, the FSSAI had allowed some groups of food business operators to be exempted from pre-inspection of their premises prior to the issuance of a license under the FSS Act 2006 in October 2012. Fortunately, the Chairperson of the FSSAI determined in May 2013 at a meeting that FBOs’ premises would be reviewed within six months of the FSSAI’s approval.

The FSSAI, on the other hand, acknowledged in an Office Memorandum dated February 12, 2015, that, considering all of the previous directives, the applicants for the issuance of the license were left pending mostly due to the lack of physical inspections of the premises. The inspection, however, is the most critical part of the FSSAI officials’ assessment for awarding the license. As a result, FBOs must ensure that they follow those requirements.

The Inspection Memorandum, which specifies the external and internal inspection checklists that must be met in order to obtain an FSSAI license:

1. EXTERNAL INSPECTION

  • If it is located next to a residential area (Clean/Unclean surroundings)
  • If it is near to an unpleasant industry (like fish canning, tanneries, chemical plants, fertilizer plants that are releasing hydrogen sulfide, sulphur, etc.)
  • A service road is subject to a condition.
  • Whether it is a boundary wall or a fence that is provided to prevent unauthorized human access or animals.
  • Where the wastes remain, whether there is an incinerator or dumping pits for the disposal of condemned corpses.
  • Existence of a rendering plant
  • The drainage system’s quality, whether it’s open or permanently built underground.
  • The disposal of waste materials is arranged.
  • The water supply source. If some distinguishing labels have been added to the pipelines so that the potable and non-potable supplies can be distinguished easily.
  • The condition of the animal home, storage facilities, and quarantine facilities (sanitary/unsanitary)
  • Whether or not workers have access to washrooms and locker rooms. If washrooms are available, they must inspect them to see if they are clean.
  • If idle/condemned machines and machinery have been properly stored to prevent rats, bees, mosquitoes, and other pests.
  • If the exterior walls are well plastered and free of holes, cracks, and dampness.
  • If separate loading docks are given for edible and inedible goods, and whether the loading docks are protected to prevent the material from being exposed to vultures, falling off birds, flies, and harsh weather.
  • Whether or not the entrance is restricted, and whether or not the entrances and exits have double doors with fly proofing, as well as self-closing devices are given or not.
  • Whether or not the windows are made of fly-proof materials.
  • Whether or not the smoke chimney is at a suitable height.
  • Whether or not there is an antiseptic/disinfectant foot bath at the entry.

2. INTERNAL INSPECTION 

  • If there is a proper separation between the unclean and clean departments if the walls and ceilings have been whitewashed.
  • If the impervious substance, such as cement, is sufficiently plastered on the floor, walls, and ceilings.
  • Moisture (present/absent), fissures, cracks, and holes
  • (Clean/Unclean) The condition of the floor and walls.
  • Whether or not the tiles are high enough on the wall. If the windows are high enough and far enough away from the working platform, desks, and cooking slabs to prevent damage from dust, broken glass, and other hazards.
  • Whether or not the raw meat department, filling department, and cooked meat department are properly separated.
  • Is there any different entrance and exit to the aforementioned departments
  • If sufficient foot-powered combination water taps with hot and cold water supply are provided at each entry point, as well as liquid soap containers
  • Whether or not enough care is taken to ensure that each worker washes his hands properly before entering and leaving the factory (Note: It is thus preferable to provide an antiseptic solution for hand wash also).
  • Whether or not there are enough signboards on the premises that say “DO NOT SPIT/SMOKE.”

CONCLUSION

The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) establishes the whole requirements for food business operators based on the form or type of business. A Central FSSAI license is given to food business operators who operate on a large scale/are a large selling retailer, or have a yearly turnover of more than 20 crores. Depending on the respective category.

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