Learn about FSSAI to start your food business the right way

Many individuals saw the potential that exists in Food Processing Operations and chose to get into this field when starting their own company or business. Given that it is one of the biggest industries in India, it would not be an unwise decision. However, when starting Food Business Operations on one’s own, it is important to know the rules and regulations that govern the industry – the foremost being the FSSAI license that one needs to obtain.

According to a study, 32% of the country’s total food market is covered by the Indian food processing Industry. It is known to rank fifth in terms of production, export, and growth, taking its place as one of India’s largest industries. The operations involved in food businesses can take many shapes and forms. Recently, India was able to boast of 41 Mega Food Parks, 63

Agro-Processing Clusters, 292 food processing units, and 353 cold chain projects. Thus, amidst so much competition, those venturing into this line need to make sure that their products and operations are of a quality above the rest. An easy way of doing this is to get a license from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

How is FSSAI linked to food quality?

It was to ensure quality and safety in food that the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India was set up in 2006. This body took it upon itself to set up control procedures to ensure they maintained specific safety standards across the board. Due to this authority, every customer is guaranteed the assurance of safe and quality food.

Whether in the manufacturing process or packaging and distribution process, these standards are applied at every stage to prevent food degradation. Thus, getting an FSSAI license will not only legally classify you as safe but will also keep the confidence of the customer. Of course, the safety standards will vary based on the food products. What is important is making sure the measures necessary to maintain the safety of certain food products are laid down. After all, the health of the clients and customers should be of paramount importance at all times.

How does the FSSAI work to promote food quality?

There are several ways in which the FSSAI tries to control the quality of food processing units. It starts by framing relevant regulations and guidelines about food and enforcing standards by putting in place specific systems. However, this is not it’s only task. It is also actively involved in ensuring the:

  • Laying down of guidelines for those bodies involved in the certification of food businesses
  • Enforcing of policies related to the accreditation of food laboratories
  • Collecting data relating to food – its consumption, contaminants, the prevalence of risk, potential diseases,
  • Role of framing policies directly/ indirectly related to food safety and nutrition
  • Provision of scientific and technical support to the State and Central government through these systems

Apart from this, the FSSAI also provides training programs for people involved in the food business and plays a significant role when it comes to developing international standards for food and sanitary standards. Thus, through all this, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India can promote awareness about food safety and its required standards to all those that play a role  in the landscape of the Food Processing Industry. There are a few smaller businesses that cannot get through the food licence registration process and they prefer getting through the Shop Act instead because there are fewer restrictions.

How to get your food business registered?

While the process of registering is somewhat similar, slight variations are depending on the size and nature of the business. On registering, applicants receive a 14-digit number that is then printed on every food package. FSSAI Licensing can fall under three categories – Central License, State License, and Registration for Petty Food Businesses.

The Central License is usually for Large Food Businesses while the State License covers Medium Food Businesses. The licenses can be obtained on submission of Form-A or Form-B – the former being for registration and the latter for obtaining a license. While submitting the forms online, applicants should also include the necessary documents, based on which their application will

then be either accepted or rejected. The applicant will know the status within seven days. If approved, a certificate will be issued with the number and photo of the applicant.

FSSAI Registration can be done for any of the following small-scale food businesses. These include:

  • Petty retailers
  • Individuals manufacturing or selling food items
  • Food units that have an annual turnover of not more than 12 lakhs
  • Individuals distributing food for religious or social gatherings (excluding caterers)
  • Small-scale or cottage industries dealing with the food

For all Food Businesses apart from the above small-scale businesses, registration will not suffice, they would need to obtain a food license. Based on whether it is a medium or large-scale business, it will either need to obtain a Central or State License. The documentation needed for this includes the following:

  • Duly filled Form-B
  • Processing unit plan with dimensions and area allocation
  • Machinery used and installed capacity
  • NOC document issued by FSSAI
  • Names of Directors/ Proprietors or Partners with ID

These are just some of the primary documents needed. Just like micro, small and medium businesses need to opt-in for a license to obtain several benefits, similarly based on the scale of the operations, the Food Business Operator can analyze which category it falls under and apply accordingly. When it comes to getting through the rules, they are about the same in most states around India. There might be a few minor differences but the paperwork and necessary documents stay the same. However, in this day and age, you can get a food licence in Karnataka with ease.

So if you are starting a Food Business or wish to be part of the Food Business Operations in India, the best way to begin is by making sure your operations receive the stamp of approval of the FSSAI. This will not only benefit the company but also provide a degree of assurance to the customers about the quality and safety attached to the consumables that they are supplied. With the process of FSSAI registration now available online, applicants need not worry about facing

any hassles anymore because it can easily be done with just the click of the mouse. After all, one must remember that quality assurance is a guaranteed path to customer satisfaction.

Like most registration processes, people have to renew their FSSAI licence. They have to handle the FSSAI renewal thirty days before the licence expires. There are moments where they make some changes to the process. Fortunately, they can now get this done online which makes the process significantly faster, taking less time and effort.