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FSSAI: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India

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Introduction

Food is a very sensitive issue that affects the public at large. Indians moreover have this craziness about the foods that forces the government to monitor the movements of the companies and people engaged in the food business. In the streets of India, a person can find food in form of different cuisines, even the street vendors do expect a boom in their businesses. It is the prime motive of the government to monitor the regulation of food products as it directly links to the safeguards of the public at large. Bad food would lead to bad effects on health of people at large. Not healthy food would also affect the public. The government at no point can allow such regulation of food where there is even a slight chance of foul to the public at large. It was absolutely necessary for the government to look in this regards and put some restrictions on the people engaged in providing food. And with this purpose government introduced FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India). It is an autonomous body that comes under the gamut of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Government of India. It was an establishment with the prime motive to promote and protect public health under the uniformed regulations. Food Safety and Standard Authority of India perform various functions in regards of standard and quality of food. Indians are very stubborn and it was necessary for government to implement some restrictions by way of laws for consistent and strict implementation. Therefore, the government enacted Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. FSSAI was formed under Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006. This act consolidates different orders and acts which handled food related issues. The purpose of creating FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) was to lay down science based standards of food articles and regulation of their manufacture, sale, import, distribution and storage to ensure availability of wholesome and safe food for consumption. FSSAI department launched Food Safety Compliance System (FOSCOS) system to procure FSSAI License. FSSAI/FOSCOS/Food License is the same license of FSSAI. These are the platform where a person engaged in food business can procure the license of FSSAI. They were introduced to minimise the hassles of people trying to procure such license.

Food Safety and Standard Act

Various intermediate actions such as the Prevention of Food Alteration Act, 1954, Fruit Products Order, 1955, Meat Food Products Order, 1973, Vegetable Oil Products (Control), 1947, Edible Oils Packaging (Regulation) Order 1988, Solvent Extracted Oil, De-Oiled Meal and Edible Flour (Control) Order, 1967, Milk and Milk Products Order, 1992 etc were removed after initiation of the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006. The Act also aims to establish a single point of reference on all matters relating to food security and standards, from multi-sectoral, multi-departmental regulation to a single command line. To date, the Act establishes an Independent Legal Authority - the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India headquartered in Delhi. The Food and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) and the State Food Security Authority will enforce the various provisions of the Act.

Food Safety and Standard Authority of India performs functions of:

  1. Independent regulations to set standards and guidelines for food articles and to specify the appropriate procedure for enforcing those standards.
  2. It sets out the composition and guidelines for accreditation of certification bodies which also ensure food safety management systems for food businesses.
  3. Establishes the accreditation process for food labs and notifies accredited labs.
  4. Provides scientific advice and technical support to the Central Government and the State on policy issues that have a direct or indirect impact on food security and healthy eating.
  5. Collection and scrutinizing of data on food consumption, incidence, and increased biological hazards, food contamination, residues of various contaminants in food products, indicating emerging risks that may result in a rapid warning system.
  6. To build a national information network to provide fast, clear, reliable and purposeful information on food safety and issues of concern to the public, consumers, panchayats etc.
  7. Provide training to people involved or who intend to participate in the food business.
  8. Contribute to the development of international food, health and hygiene standards.
  9. Promoting general awareness of food safety and standards.

Licensing and registration of FSSAI is compulsory for all business firms that operate any type of food product. The authority inspects the application and the relevant documents before granting the license. Whether producing or distributing or selling food items, registration of FSSAI is mandatory. The Food Business can only be started after obtaining a registration or license from FSSAI. Restaurant, cafes, hotels, bakeries, dairy, consumer etc. All such business area requires FSSAI registration; called Food Businesses.

Necessity of FSSAI

It is mandatory for all business persons who deals in food categories i.e. Dhaba, Restaurant, Hotels, Hawkers, Halwayi, Stall, etc. to take FSSAI License. It has many benefits inclined with it. Food business owners can be fined up to 5 lakh rupees and may have to spend some time in the prison extending up to 6 months for violation of the provision of obtaining FSSAI license. Apart from immunity from such punishments, business would yield other benefits as well. Benefits like.

Quality assurance of food: FSSAI has vanished the shady food retailers those who sale stale and unhealthy food and assured everyone the quality of food which is ethical and beneficial for the business.
Legal benefits: As mentioned FSSAI License is mandatory and obtaining this will immune one from various legal actions that can be taken against any business.

Assist in Business Expansion: FSSAI License in many ways, directly and indirectly, would lead to expansion of a business.

Creation of goodwill: Goodwill is made of those businesses only those provide excellence in food services. FSSAI License ensure certain parameters that would lead one’s business to a good will for sure.
Awareness among customers: FSSAI License has created and would create great awareness among the customers and only those businesses having this licence would be able to achieve success.

Types of FSSAI

FSSAI issues license based on the turnover of the business or total annual sales of the business. There are only three types of licenses issues, namely:

  1. Basic FSSAI License/Certificate for the businesses whose annual turnover or sale are less than 12 lakhs. Fee for such license id Rs.1500/- excluding the government and including government fee of 1 year.  
  2. State FSSAI License/Certificate are issued for the businesses whose annual sales or turnover is in range between 12 lakhs to 20 crores. Fee, excluding government fee, is Rs.2500/- for this license. If the annual turnover exceed the prescribed limit, business have to switch to central license.
  3. Central FSSAI License/Certificate where annual turnover or sales is more than 20 crores. Fee, excluding government fee, is Rs.2500/- for this license. It is mandatory in the cases where the business is to supply at the government office or engaged in export/import of food products.


This license is time barred and the validity of this license would depend on the applicant, for how many year the applicant desires. Maximum validity of FSSAI license if of 5 years and any person can renew the said license by submitting prescribed documents and fees.


For renewal, it is to be noted that the applicant must apply for renewal, 30 days prior to the expiry of present license. In case of failure of renewal of any license within the prescribed timeline, businessman will be charged Rs.100 per day and his business may be ceased. 

Conclusion

To conclude, FSSAI is the authority that issues license to the people engaged in food business. This license is necessary and fruitful as well for the business. Government implemented this authority and such license system for the benefit of the people of the country. This authority came in to regulate the food business in an effective manner which allowed people the luxury to enjoy food from anywhere without any doubt of them being a shady food business.

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Author
Vinay Singh
Vinay Thakur is Managing Partner in Corpseed. He focused on payments, digital transformation, and financial technology for over 15 years and holds strong expertise on fintech startups, banking innovation, and investors with a keen understanding of the trends and activities of startups, banks, and investors in the space.