Guideline on how to obtain FSSAI Licenses for E-commerce food sellers and operators

Guideline On How To Obtain FSSAI Licenses For E-commerce Food Sellers And Operators

The FSSAI guidelines, enlisted in the month of February 2018, made it essential for e-commerce food operator platforms to display FSSAI license or Registration number of the listed business. It is imperative to have a legal agreement between the Food Business Operators and the e-Commerce platforms to follow the Food Safety and Standards Regulation.

1. What is FSSAI license/registration?

The FSSAI (Food Safety and Standards Authority of India) is involved in checking the condition and standard of foods This is why food business operators (FBO) in India must get registration and license issued by the FSSAI. 

All the manufacturers, food suppliers, traders, and restaurants involved in the food business in India must have a 14-digit registration or a license number printed on the food packages (according to the regulations of the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006). 

FSSAI license number is a 14-digit number that gives data about the producer’s permit or enrollment subtle elements, and the assembling state. The owner of the brand must display the FSSAI logo and the license number on the label of the food package.

Click here to read more about the FSSAI registration in India

2. How has the FSSAI defined the models for e-commerce food operators in India?

In its recent initiative towards advanced proposition and to ensure regulated buying and selling of food products online, the higher body has introduced “e-commerce” business licenses in the central category. This license is now an obligatory requirement for carrying out any food business related activity through the medium of e-commerce.

Inventory based modelMarketing based model
Where the inventory and food service are owned by e-commerce FBO and is sold off directly to the consumersE-commerce FBO is a facilitator of information technology platform to the buyer and seller/marketer/manufacturer.

The entities which provide tertiary services i.e. the storage, the distribution or the last mile delivery will also be included under the e-commerce FBO (food business operators) category.

3. What is the criteria for getting an FSSAI e-commerce license?

E-Commerce food business operator dealing with any type of food product will have to take the FSSAI Central License and that too with no limit on the capacity of their product.

4. What is the FSSAI registration process for ecommerce food operators and restaurants

Given below are some simple steps in order to obtain an e-commerce FSSAI license:

a. Choose the type of required license

  • The first step is to choose the type of license or registration that is required as per the business.
  • If the food business is new then it will require an FSSAI registration.
  • If the food business is old, the license will be required depending on the business turnover.
  • Here for all the E-Commerce, Central FSSAI License under heading the E-Commerce shall be applied.

b. Choose the type of your business

  • The next step is to decide the type of business for which the FSSAI registration / license is needed.
  • FSSAI has fixed various kinds of business categories for food business operators to apply for license or registration.

c. Create a login in FSSAI site

  • Once the type of business has been decided, the next step would be to login to the FSSAI site.
  • The applicant needs to create a user id on the FSSAI site and generate the user id and password.

d. Filling the FSSAI application form

  • Next after creating a login, it is required to fill out the form.
  • There would be two forms to select.
  • Form-A for registration & Form-B for license.
  • After selecting the form accordingly, filling out all the required fields, it is to be chosen that which food code are we applying.
  • FSSAI has categorized the food and has specified Food code for many many food products.

e. Attaching the required documents

  • After filling up the form, the applicant needs to attach the required documents like applicant’s id and address proof, business address proof, Simple declaration, and many others as per the type of license and the requirements as asked for.

f. Making payment for the license/registration

  • After filling up the form and attaching the application, the documents will move onto the payment page where the payment has to be made for the application which will be as per the fees that is set per year.

5. Validity that the FSSAI registration holds

FSSAI registration is a legal approval that can operate the food business which increases the credibility of the business and makes sure the set standards are maintained. Following are some points which mark the validity of the FSSAI registration/license:

  • FSSAI licenses issued to food businesses are valid for a period of 1 to 5 years as chosen by the Food Business Operator.
  • It is mandatory to apply for license renewal 30 days before the expiry of the existing license.
  • Non-renewal of licenses can fetch a fine of Rs.100 per day until the renewal is done .
  • Any lapse in renewal within the stipulated date can result in the old license becoming deactivated and businesses will have to apply for a fresh license.
  • Besides, If an entity is operating without applying for the Food Safety certificate, this is punishable under the Act. The FBO may face custody and/or a penalty of up to Rs. 5 lakhs.

6. Key responsibilities/requirements e-commerce food operators needs to have in order to acquire a license

In respect to ensuring the safety of food for its consumers, FSSAI has enlisted a few responsibilities of e-commerce as a licensing requirement for them, which are given below:

  • To display licenses for all the food business entities that are listed on the platform.
  • To have an agreement with the brand owner or seller to ensure compliance with Food Safety and Standards Regulations. The liability shall remain with these FBO.
  • To ensure the display of a clear and vivid image of the display panel of the product.
  • Any food article delivered to the consumer by e-commerce FBO shall have a shelf-life of at least 30 percent or 45 days before expiry at the time of delivery to the consumer. In the case of caterers or restaurants which sell their products online, they need to ensure that only fresh food items are delivered to the consumer.

FSSAI enforcement activities and guidelines ensure harmonious and efficient implementation of new rules and regulations. The committed e-commerce platforms have appreciated the steps taken by the higher authority. Various aspiring and existing e-commerce food businesses are seeking the help from experts to ensure 100% compliance with the FSSAI laid Rules and Regulations.

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are strictly of the author and VJM & Associates LLP. The contents of this article are solely for informational purpose. It does not constitute professional advice or recommendation of firm. Neither the author nor firm and its affiliates accepts any liabilities for any loss or damage of any kind arising out of any information in this article nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

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To run a food business in India, an FSSAI certificate or FSSAI license is mandatory. In today’s world, as people prefer certified food consumption, FSSAI license can provide the food business with legal benefits and expansion scope. Not to forget it builds goodwill and trust, ensures food being wholesome, creates consumer awareness.