Every country mandates some licenses or registration to operate a food business because the food safety and health of customers is main concern for the governments all over the world. If you want to start a food business in India then you must have to obtain license from Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) as per section 31(1) Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The FSSAI licensing and registration procedure and requirements are regulated by the Food Safety & Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Business) Regulations, 2011. In India, a food license or FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) registration is required for any business that is involved in food-related activities, such as manufacturing, processing, packaging, storage, transportation, distribution, and sale of food products.
The FSSAI registration or food license is mandatory to ensure the safety and quality of food products, and to protect the health of consumers. The food license is issued by the FSSAI, which is a government body responsible for regulating food safety and standards in India.
Who Require FSSAI Registration?
The Food Business Operators (FBOs) involved in following types of the food business must have FSSAI License/Registration:
(i) Petty retailers, Retail Shops, Snacks shops, Confectionery or Bakery shops, etc.
(ii) Temporary stalls, fixed stalls, or food premises are involved in preparing, storing, distributing, and selling food products.
(iii) Hawkers sell packaged or freshly prepared food by traveling from one location to another.
(iv) Dairy Units, including Milk Chilling Units, Petty Milkmen, and Milk Vendors
(v) Slaughtering house
(vi) Fish Processing, Meat Processing, and unit
(vii) All Food Manufacturing units that include Repacking food
(viii) Vegetable Oil Processing Units
(ix) Proprietary food and Novel food
(x) Cold/refrigerated storage facility
(xi) Transporter of food products having several specialized vehicles like insulated refrigerated vans/wagons, milk tankers, food wagons, food trucks, etc
(xii) Wholesalers, suppliers, distributors, and marketers of food products
(xiii) Hotels, Restaurants, and Bars
(xiv) Canteens and Cafeteria, including mid-day meal canteens
(xv)Food Vending Agencies and Caterers
(xvi) Dhaba, PGs providing food, a Banquet hall with food catering arrangements, Home Based Canteen, and Food stalls at fairs or religious institutions.
(xvii) Importers and Exporters of food items and food ingredients.
(xviii) E-Commerce food suppliers, including cloud kitchens
Types of Food License
The type of food license required depends on the size and nature of the food business. There are three types of food licenses in India:
(A) FSSAI Basic Registration: This is required for small food businesses with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 12 lakhs. It is obtained by applying Form A.
(B) FSSAI State License: This is required for medium-sized food businesses with an annual turnover between Rs. 12 lakhs and Rs. 20 crores. You have to apply in Form B to obtain it.
(C) FSSAI Central License: This is required for large food businesses with an annual turnover of more than Rs. 20 crores, and for food businesses involved in activities such as import and export of food products. You have to apply in Form B to obtain it.
FSSAI Certificate for Cloud Kitchens
The FSSAI license is mandatory for cloud kitchens also. Cloud kitchens can apply for FSSAI Licenses/Registration through the Food Safety Compliance System (FoSCoS) portal. They need to select the type of food business, annual turnover, fill out either Form A or Form B, upload documents and make an online payment to submit the license/registration application.
Upon submission of the license/registration application, the respective department will verify the application and scrutinize the documents submitted. When the department is satisfied that the cloud kitchen meets all the required criteria, it will grant an FSSAI registration certificate with the registration number to the applicant’s email ID.
The following fee is applicable to obtain the FSSAI license:
Consequences of Non- Compliance
It is important to note that failure to obtain a food license or FSSAI registration can result in penalties and legal action. Therefore, it is recommended that all food businesses comply with the FSSAI regulations and obtain the required food license before starting their operations.
In case of non-compliance of FSSAI rules and regulations may attract the penal actions as per FSS Act, 2006. Regular inspection of the food business operation facility is conducted by the FSSAI officers and based on the status of compliance the food officer marks the business in following categories:
(i) Compliance (C)
(ii) Non-compliance (NC)
(iii) Partial compliance (PC)
(iv) Not applicable/Not observed (NA)
Based on the above, the food safety officer might issue an improvement notice where ever required per Section 32 of the FSS Act, 2006. If the business operator fails to comply with the improvement notice, the officer after giving the licensee an opportunity to show cause may cancel his license. Any food business operator aggrieved by an improvement notice can appeal to the State Commissioner of Food Safety. The decision thereon can be challenged through appealing to the Food Safety Appellate Tribunal/High Court.
Procedure for Registration and Obtaining Food License from FSSAI
The food business operators have to follow the following steps to obtain the license from FSSAI:
STEP 1: Submit Application
To obtain a food license or FSSAI registration in India, the food business operator (FBO) needs to submit an application to the FSSAI. The application form can be downloaded from the FSSAI website or obtained from the nearest FSSAI office.
The FBO should visit the FLRS portal at
and register themselves on the portal
The application form should be filled out correctly and all the necessary documents should be attached.
Documents Required for FSSAI Registration
The documents required for FSSAI registration or food license include:
(1) Proof of identity of the FBO, such as PAN card, Aadhar card, or Voter ID card.
(2) Proof of address of the FBO, such as rent agreement, electricity bill, or property tax receipt.
(3) List of food products to be manufactured, processed, or sold.
(4) Details of food processing unit or manufacturing facility, including the type of equipment used, area of the premises, and photographs of the facility.
(4) Food safety management system plan or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) plan, if applicable.
STEP 2: Pay the Fees
The FBO should pay the fees for the relevant food license online using the payment gateway provided on the FLRS portal.
STEP 3: Verification by the FSSAI
The FSSAI will verify the application and the documents submitted by the FBO. The FSSAI may also conduct an inspection of the food business premises to ensure compliance with food safety and hygiene standards.
STEP 5: Issuance of Food License
Once the application is verified, the FSSAI will issue the food license or FSSAI registration certificate to the FBO online.
STEP 6: Display of Food License
The FBO should display the food license or FSSAI registration certificate prominently at the food business premises.
It is important for FBOs to comply with the food safety and hygiene standards prescribed by the FSSAI. They should ensure that the food products they manufacture, process, or sell are safe for consumption and meet the quality standards prescribed by the FSSAI.
Regular inspections and audits are conducted by the FSSAI to ensure compliance with food safety and hygiene standards. FBOs should maintain proper records and documentation of their food business operations, and should renew their food license or FSSAI registration certificate before the expiry date.
Benefits of FSSAI License
The first benefit of obtaining FSSAI license is peace of mind. You need not to worry about any legal action by the authorities in case of regular checking. When you obtain FSSAI certification and display it at your work facility or mention it in your products, then you build credibility, good will and earn confidence of your customers and investors. It helps you in business expansion also.
Also, it helps regulate, manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of import food. It is easy to obtain funds from investors when an FBO has FSSAI registration.
The FSSAI logo on the food products ensures the quality of food to the customers. The FSSAI registration number displayed on the food premises indicate that the premises comply with the hygiene and quality standards.
Obtaining a food license or FSSAI registration is mandatory for all food businesses in India. It is important for FBOs to comply with the food safety and hygiene standards prescribed by the FSSAI to ensure the safety and quality of food products and protect the health of consumers.