Guess which is the most profitable business? Research has shown that an average person spends 35% of his earnings on food and beverages. It is rightly said that the food industry is recession-proof.
During the pandemic, there has been a boom of ‘start your food business, many of which are at-home caterers. But serving food is much more than making tasty dishes. Food affects our health like no other product. That is why governments in all countries have strict regulations and controls in place to monitor all aspects of the foodservice business. And, India is no exception.
In this article, we will tell you how an entrepreneur can get a license to start a food service business.
What is FSSAI?
The Food Safety and Standard Authority of India (FSSAI) is an autonomous organisation that governs and monitors the food business in India. It was established under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. If you are dealing in food in any manner, like buying, selling, transporting, or distributing, it is mandatory to get a food license issued by the FSSAI.
The food regulator FSSAI was established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. It is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the supervision of food safety. The FSSAI conducts quality checks on food products to curb food adulteration and sale of sub-standard products. Whether you are a catering service, a food chain, or a restaurant you will need to get the Food License from FSSAI to operate your food business. The list also includes manufacturers, traders, and even grocery shops.
FSSAI has elaborate enforcement machinery in all the states and union territories along with accredited and referral labs.
What is FSSAI Registration/License?
The FSSAI Registration or License is a 14-digit number that is printed on all the food packages. This number gives data about the producer’s permit and the assembling state. The licensing procedures and requirements are regulated by the Food Safety and Standards Regulation, 2011. Anyone involved in the food business has to display the license number on the premises and also on the packaged food that he sells.
This license aims to create more accountability and adherence to quality on the part of the Food Business Operator (FBO).
Types of FSSAI Registration
You can apply for an FSSAI license depending on the type of business you have. These are of 3 types:
1. Basic Licence or Registration
This is for businesses whose turnover is lower than Rs 12 lakh. Its validity is from 1 to 5 years. The government fee is Rs 1999 (excluding GST) for the first year.
2. State Licence
For businesses whose turnover is between Rs 12 lakh to Rs 20 crore. The fee is Rs 2999.
3. Central License
For businesses whose turnover is more than Rs 20 crore, or eCommerce businesses, or businesses spread all over India. The fee is Rs 3999.
How to apply for an FSSAI food license online?
- First open your browser on your mobile or computer, and go to www.google.com. In the search box type ‘FSSAI login’. The first option that will come on your search query will be ‘foscos.fssai.gov.in’. This is the official website of FSSAI where you can apply for your food license.
2. After you click on this link, you will see an option on the right-hand side of your screen-‘Existing Users Login’. If you have an existing account, you just have to enter your user name and password. Then enter the Captcha code as it will appear on the screen.
3. If you are a new user, you have to click on the ‘Sign Up’ button. On the next page, you have to fill in all your details like your name and the name of your company. Finally, you have to click on the ‘Register’ button. Then your login process would be complete.
4. Next you would be directed to the Licensing and Registration System page. At the top left-hand corner, you would see a button called License/Registration. If you click on that, an option called ‘Apply for License/Registration’ would appear. If you click on this, you would be directed to a page where there is a Declaration. You have to click on the ‘Accept’ button.
5. After that, an option for ‘State’ would come, and you have to select your state. After selection, you will be asked whether the premises where you will carry out your food business is located in more than one state. After you select the right option, you will be taken to the next page. Here you will be asked about the category of your business. You have to select from the options given in the list.
6. You will then be asked whether you are a wholesaler, retailer, or distributor. After selecting the right option you have to click on the ‘Proceed’ button.
7. The next page that you will see is the Form A of the application. It will ask you the Applicant Details like the name of the applicant or company. Then you have to select the Designation like Individual, Partner, or Proprietor.
8. Next you will have to tick the appropriate column on ‘Kind of Business’. Then you have to provide the address of the premises where your food business is located. In the address column, you have to provide details like District, Region, Zone, Sub-division, pin code, and Nearest Landmark.
9. On the next page you have to fill in the Correspondence details and your mobile number. Then you have to click ‘Submit’.
Your FSSAI application process is now complete. When the application gets approved the digital and hard copy of the license will be sent to the address provided.
Food businesses can now be fined Rs 5 lakhs, along with 6 months imprisonment for not having a food license. Given the current Covid situation, FSSAI has allowed Food Business Operators other than manufacturers to temporarily operate their business on the valid receipt of the application for registration.
Why is FSSAI Licensing important for restaurants?
The FSSAI license can be used as a marketing tool for your small business.
1. Make customers aware of FSSAI registration
You can put the FSSAI logo on your menu or pamphlets, and even on the packaged food. The logo will create trust in your customers that your food is safe to consume. It will help to increase your business many shady restaurants do because many shady restaurants do not possess FSSAI registration.
2. Help in business expansion
If you already own a restaurant, you can open a chain of restaurants in different parts of the country, using your existing food license. But you have to obtain a central license from FSSAI.
3. Help in legal aspects
Having an FSSAI license will help you to avoid legal penalties and fines. If a customer falls ill after eating at your restaurant, the FSSAI registration will cushion you from lawsuits.
NDMC relaxes rules
The New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) has altered the requirement of granting health licenses to hotels and restaurants falling under its jurisdiction, in March this year. It has made the application process online and extended the renewal period from three to five years. The employees can obtain their annual medical certificates from any hospital recognised by the government, rather than only the Food Handling Unit of NDMC.
Now test reports from CGHS/NDMC impaneled private labs are accepted, apart from NDMC. All payment of fees for renewal or grant of the license would be done online, and no physical challan would be required. These changes have been done to simplify the compliance norms and reduce harassment.
Though the foodservice industry has taken a beating during Covid 19, things are slowly looking up. Many people still do not know that the FSSAI licensing and registration system can benefit their business. We hope that this article will help you to get this important license to start your food business.
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Q. What is FOSCOS?
Ans. The full form of FOSCOS is Food Safety Compliance System. It is operational pan-India to replace the old licensing and registration system, with effect from 1st November 2020.
Q. Will the FSSAI certificate help me to get loans for my food business?
Ans. The FSSAI registration will help you to get privileges like government funding.
Q. Is the FSSAI license dependent on the volume of business?
Ans. Yes, The Registration is for petty food business, State License is for Medium food business, and the Central License is for large food business.
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