The FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India), an agency under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, is responsible for controlling the quality of food items available for consumption. FSSAI licenses FBOs (Food Business Operators) based on their turnover and location. Food-related businesses, such as those that produce or manufacture food, those involved in storing or transporting edible products etc. are required to obtain the FSSAI license.
The FSSAI issues three types of licenses:
- Registration with the FSSAI
- License from the FSSAI
- FSSAI license
Validity of FSSAI license:
The license issued by the FSSAI is valid for a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years. In order to continue operating, the FBO must renew its license thereafter. Penalties will apply to the FBO if its license is not renewed. The FBO should display the 14-digit license number on food packages or in the place of business.
The renewal period for licenses is as follows:
According to the Food Safety Standard (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations, 2011, the renewal application must be submitted within 30 days of the expiry date stated on the license. An application can be made up to 180 days before the expiration date.
License renewal for businesses affected by Covid lockdown:
Even after the license expires, the business can continue to use the same license number. Previously, the FSSAI did not allow renewals. After the license/registration expired, the FBOs had to reapply for it in order to resume their business. A number of businesses were unable to renew their licenses/registrations during the COVID 19 pandemic. In order to continue their food business, many FBOs sought a new license. According to the FSSAI, such businesses could renew their licenses under the following conditions.
- Licenses may be renewed after expiration for licensed FBOs who submit annual returns online via the FoSCoS portal
- Renewals may be granted only until 180 days after the expiration date
- FBOs will be prohibited from conducting business between the date of expiry and the issuance of the renewed license. As per the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, if an FBO operates during the said period, penalties will be levied.
- After the renewal of the license has been accomplished, a new validity date is set
Licences that are not renewed are subject to the following penalties:
When the renewal period has expired, a late fee or penalty of *100 per day must be deposited along with the renewal fee. However, the late fee does not apply to the basic registration of FBOs.
Licensing requirements after expiration:
The authorities allowed the license to be renewed even after it had expired so that businesses could continue to operate their businesses after the license had expired.
- If the license renewal is pending from the 1st to the 90th day after the expiration date, an amount equal to thrice the license fee must be deposited
- Between the 91st and 180th day following the expiry date, an amount equivalent to twice the existing renewal fee must be deposited.
Renewing an expired license requires the following documents:
The FSSAI released a notification in March 2021 regarding the list of documents required for license renewal. It includes:
- Certificate of Food Safety Management System
- The nominee’s details have been updated
- Details about the license that needs to be modified
- Documents corroborating the modification on the official letterhead
- Any such documents which may be required by the licensing authority in order to ensure the safety of food are available on request
Renewal of the license:
- Log in to the FoSCoS portal and navigate to the “Renewal” section to renew the license. Depending on the type of license that is to be renewed, the user can select Form A (Basic registration) or Form B (State or Central license)
- Existing licenses/registrations are listed for renewal. The applicant can select the license/registration that needs to be renewed and click “Proceed”
- It should be noted that the list is displayed only for 120 days before the license expires. Once the license expires, the user cannot renew the license and must create a new application
- In Form B, the applicant can edit the Premises Details, and Product Selection, and upload the necessary documents, along with paying for the license renewal. The renewal fee is only charged if done prior to 90 days of the expiry of the license. An additional *100 fine will be imposed after 90 days of non-payment
- After the payment is made, a receipt is generated with the license number
- The FoSCoS portal allows users to track applications.