The GOI is very much concerned about the quality of various food products available in the Indian marketplace. The government has taken plenty of measures in this direction and has constantly been trying to deploy strategies that incentivize food safety. The Authority has underpinned a long list of FSSAI Norms to mitigate malpractice within the food sector, thereby ensuring the availability of safer food for the masses.
Legal Obligations of FBOs and role of FSS Act
Every member in the supply chain of foods is bound to follow the FSSAI norms without exception. Meaning- from producer to distributor, from a marketer of the retailer, everyone who is making the slightest of contribution in the food supply chain is liable to operate under the ambit of FSSAI norms.
The purpose behind the enactment of FSS, 2006 is to instil transparency within the functioning of the food sector. This Act seeks to regulate the functioning of every member of the food supply chain, including importers and online sellers.
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Criteria as per FSSAI norms to avail Food license from FSSAI
Following are the FSSAI norms for the obtainment of a Food license
FSSAI confers food license to business entities based on the following eligibility criteria:
Businesses having annual tunover up to Rs 12 lakhs needs to stick around with basic FSSAI registration.
- FBOs having annual turnover between 12 lakh-20 crore needs to avail of State FSSAI license
- FBOs that have yearly revenue of more than Rs 20 crore are liable to obtain an Central FSSAI license.
The validity time span of the FSSAI license varies from 1-5 years.
The cost of availing FSSAI license varies in accordance with the validity period and the type of license.
Post-registration FSSAI norms for Food Business Operators (FBOs)
Every FBO in India are mandated to comply with the following post-registration FSSAI norms
- Manifest an original copy of the FSSAI license at all times at the place of business.
- Ensure 100% coordination with Licensing Authorities, particularly at the time of on-site inspection.
- Intimate authorities in a timely manner about the modifications being made to activities or the content of the license.
- Appoint at least one professional to administer the production process. The expert administering the production process must have a recognized degree or diploma in one of the following fields.
- Chemistry /Food and Nutrition/ Bio Chemistry/Microbiology Food technology/ dairy microbiology/ Dairy technology
- Dairy engineering/ /Dairy chemistry/oil technology
- Veterinary science /hotel management & catering technology
- Furnish periodic yearly return (1 April to 31 March), preferably before 31 May of each year. For handling/processing of dairy items, half-yearly returns also be submitted as cited (1 April to 31 September before 30 November and 1 Oct-31 March)
- Make sure to deal with food items not other than mentioned on the license.
- Maintain premise‘s sanitary & hygienic norms and worker’s safety as cited in Schedule – 4 in pursuant to the category of the food business.
- Ensure seamless record-keeping of production, raw materials utilization & sale.
- Collab with certified vendors for the procurement of raw material.
- Ensure utmost hygiene within business premises where the food items are processed, stored, or being sold. Such areas must have a justifiable distance from the vicinity being used for waste management or worker sanitation.
- Underpin a legit cleaning protocol in place for machines and equipment cleaning to keep contamination out of the equation.
- Examine the food items as per food norms cited under FSS Act via NABL accredited /FSSA notified labs once in six months.
- Since the majority of the food items are temperature sensitive, it is important for every FBO involved in the food supply chain to maintain the standard temperature as cited in the food norms.
- Each member in the supply chain of food is obligated to procure food-related items from the certified vendors and maintain a record thereof.
FSSAI norms for Application Processing
- A licensing authority is mandated to grant the license within 60 days from the date of issuance of application ID no.
- After the submission of the application, Authority will scrutinize the same for any discrepancies. Any error found during the verification process shall be duly shared with the concerned applicant within fifteen days from the date of receipt of the application. After being notified by the Authority, the applicant is obligated to respond to queries 30 days from the receipt of such notification. The application shall be cancelled if the applicant fails to comply with such a requirement.
- Upon receiving the complete and error-free application, the concerned Authority shall grant an application ID no to the applicant that will enable to keep the tab on the progress of the application.
- Upon receiving the application ID, the FSSAI may send a designated officer to the business premises to make some legal checks in accordance with the FSSAI norms underpinned by the Authority. After identifying the element of non-compliance at the place of business, the said officer will share the same with the applicant and provide them with measures to fix those loopholes within the specified time frame (30 days to be exact).
- The issuance of the license shall be based on measures taken by the applicant on the recommendation of the inspecting officer. In case of application rejection, the applicant will be provided with a fair chance of being heard before the Authority.
- The FSSAI will grant the food license in format C under schedule 2 of these norms.
Before starting the food business, it is vital to get the relevant registration from the FSSAI. The Act was enacted to ensure the availability of safer food for the masses. It is of paramount importance for FBOs in India to ensure 100% adherence to FSSAI norms, be it a matter of production or labelling of food items.
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