All E-Commerce Food Business Operators, which are also known as FBOs, are required to mandatorily obtain a Central License from the Central Licensing Authority of India. The Central Licensing Authority of India is named the Food and Safety and Standards Authority of India, also known as the FSSAI.
E-Commerce is a term defined for the process of selling and purchasing goods and services online. Such goods and services include online transactions for food products such as fresh fruits and vegetables, packaged food products, prepared food dishes from restaurants, etc.
In the current scenario, there has been a significant positive response in both Wholesale and Retail E-Commerce Businesses in the food industry, due to which the FSSAI License for E-Commerce Business of food products is declared mandatory for the entire applicable supply chain.
The Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006, which is also known as the FSS Act, prohibits all E-Commerce Businesses from commencing any business with food products that do not have the FSSAI License issued. All E-Commerce Food Businesses need to apply for the issuance of the FSSAI Central License no matter the Capacity or the Turnover Threshold Limit.
Requirements of FSSAI License for E-Commerce Business
In accordance with the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulation, 2011, all FBOs need to issue an FSSAI License for the entire applicable supply chain that includes the Producer of the food, the Registered Office, the Storage Unit, the Transporter, the Distributor, etc.
The E-Commerce FBOs are advised to enter into an Agreement with Producers, Sellers, Owners of the Food Brand, and Vendors where it is agreed that all the appropriate parties are to commence their business in accordance with the FSSAI Regulation. It is also mandated that only trained personnel are permitted to deliver the food products as they are mandatorily required for the maintenance of the food quality and food safety during delivery of the food product.
All the food products that are being delivered to the purchaser by the E-Commerce FBOs need to mandatorily have a shelf-life of either a minimum of thirty per cent or forty-five days prior to the date of expiration to be counted from the date of delivery. For restaurants and caterers that are in the business of delivering prepared ready-to-eat food, they need to mandatorily ensure that the food is being prepared using only fresh food items.
Compliance Guidelines of FSSAI License for E-Commerce Business
The E-Commerce of FBOs is mandatorily required for complying with the guidelines mentioned below for the maintenance of the FSSAI License for E-Commerce Business –
- The FBOs cannot provide any misleading information and can’t imply any false claims in relation to the Brand Owners, Sellers, Producers, Retailers, Vendors, Distributors, and Importers.
- The FBOs are prohibited from mentioning any images that are misleading in nature of the food services and food products.
The following pointers mentioned below are the compliance measures that are mandated to be followed by the E-Commerce FBOs, which also include Brand Owners, Sellers, Producers, Retailers, Vendors, Distributors, and Importers of Pre-Packaged Products –
- Ensuring the image uploaded of their food product is legitimate.
- Ensuring that the display panel is mandatorily mentioned, which states the Batch Number, Date of Expiration, and Maximum Retail Price of the Pre-Packaged Commodity.
- An Image of the food product being packaged for sale on the relevant E-Commerce platform.
- The FSSAI License Number needs to be issued in accordance with the FSS Act, 2006, along with the hygiene rank of the FBO as rated by FSSAI.
- The Registration of the FSSAI License needs to be mentioned on the online platform of all business entities involved in the E-Commerce Business.
- Mentioning the information in relation to the food product on the E-Commerce Platform.
- All E-Commerce FBOs need to comply with the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses) Regulations 2011, for the maintenance of basic hygiene and the quality of the food products.
- The E-Commerce FBOs need to revert to complaints raised in terms of the product Quality, Efficiency, and other issues of the Sellers, Producers, Retailers, Vendors, Distributors, or Importers immediately to be resolved.
Documents Required for FSSAI License for E-Commerce Business
The following documents that are mentioned below are required for the issuance of the FSSAI License for E-Commerce Business –
- Identification Proof of the E-Commerce of FBOs
- Deed of the Registered Office of the E-Commerce Business, Sale Deed, Electricity Bill, Rent Agreement, etc. for proof of possession of the premises
- List of all the Directors of the Company along with their Residential Address and their Contact Details
- The Partnership Deed, the Self-Declaration of the Proprietorship, and the Certificate of Incorporation
- The Import and Export Code, also known as the IEC
- The Certification of the Food Management System
- The Detailed Flow Chart of the Food Management System
- The list o all the Food Products
- Any of the following licenses –
- The Trade License
- The Panchayath License
- The Corporation License
- Municipality License
Registration Process of FSSAI License for E-Commerce Business
The following steps mentioned below are the Registration Procedure of FSSAI License for E-Commerce Business –
- The applicant needs to register under the government portal by submitting the duly filled application form along with the prescribed documents deemed necessary under the Food Safety Department, which falls under the authorisation of the Commissioner of Food and Safety.
- The applicant must specify the State where the Company of the E-Commerce Business is Registered and whether it is a Trade Business or Retail Business.
- The applicant is then required to pay the necessary required fees as prescribed in the form.
- Upon submission of the applicable fees, an offline physical inspection is to be conducted by the FSSAI of the Specified Registered Office premise.
- If the E-Commerce Business meets all the required criteria, the FSSAI issues the FSSAI Registration License Certification. The applicant can retrieve their FSSAI License from the Food Safety Compliance System, which is also known as FoSCoS.
There has been a significant spike in the growth of the E-Commerce Business in the food industry. In the current scenario, Grocery Shopping, ordering food, etc., is mostly preferred to be done online in India. The FSSAI Registration for the issuance of Certification of FSSAI License for E-Commerce Business has been declared mandatory as it was deemed necessary for complying with the maintenance of food and safety measures in the interest of the public health.
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