Concerns regarding the food standards have always been important to the people and the government. FSSAI is a legal body governed by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India, whose main aim is to set standards for food quality and security in India. The main headquarters of FSSAI is in Delhi. FSSAI has been established under the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006. It has a crucial role to play in food security.
FSSAI offers food licenses to all the Food Business Operators (FBO) in India. If the business deals with food supply or production then a person shall be called a food business operator. It is compulsory for all the traders, manufacturers, distributors, and all those who are involved in the food business to obtain a 14 digit license number that is to be printed on each of your food products. This license number gives assurance to the customers about the standard of the product and builds trust. To get a license, they must follow the rules that are laid down by FSSAI for controlling food quality. The license gives authenticity to the business. As the world is going digital, the government had launched an online application on September 24, 2020. This application help in applying for the license online, tracking the status of the application, renewal of the license, etc.
The license is issued after analyzing the nature of food, turnover, size of production, location of the business, and other relevant factors. 3 types of license are issued by the central government or the state government:-
• Registration Certificate- This is given to those businesses whose turnover is less than RS. 12 Lakhs. This is called as ‘Basic FSSAI license’. This license is issued to hawkers, temporary stallholders, etc. This type of license is issued to petty food retailers.
• State FSSAI license-This is issued to the businesses having turnover ranging from RS.12lakhs to 20 crores. This license is issued by state authorities operating in each state. FBO’s like marketers, storage, etc need to take this license from the state authority.
• Central FSSAI license- This is issued to the businesses having turnover over 20 crores. Importers, seaports, airports, etc need to take a license from the central authority.
Having a FSSAI license has the following advantages:-
• After the controversy that arose in the case of Maggie, customers have become more vigilant regarding food safety standards. People not only want to know what they eating are safe or not but also whether the quality is good. Having an FSSAI license,
increases customer assurance and builds trust upon your brand.
• Having a license can help you legally. Obtaining a license is compulsory, if one gets caught by the authorities, they would end up paying a heavy penalty.
• A FBO which has a license would stand above the other FBO’s who do not have a license. The FSSAI logo is a mark of validity that the food product is as per the standards and safe for consumption. It would help in developing the brand name of your business and increase your goodwill.
• When you have a license the customer base increase, the goodwill of your business increases and this can help you in expanding your business with ease.
As per NRAI India Food Services Report 2019, out of 2.69 million FBO’s only 4, 67,000 food business operators have FSSAI license.
Under Section 32 of the Food Safety and Safeguard Act 2006, the license can be suspended by the registering authority. When this is done the FBO is given an improvement notice and the premise is inspected in a reasonable period which is not less than 14 days of the notice of suspension. Once the premise is inspected and the report is submitted to the authority, the report is analyzed, show cause opportunity is given to the operator and then if the authority believes that no defects have been rectified or the condition laid down in the improvement notice have not been complied with the licensing authority may cancel the license. Further, such a license can also be canceled or suspended in the interest of public health.