FSSAI - Food Standards and Safety Authority of India


The Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI) is the supreme authority which is responsible for regulating and supervising the food safety. It is mandatory for all the Food Business Operators (FBOs) in order to obtain an FSSAI license or Food Licenses. A common confusion or a misunderstanding which is among the FBOs is the license which the businessman is required to obtain. FSSAI lays down science-based standards for the articles of food and it also regulates their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and the import in order to ensure the availability of safe and also wholesome food to 130 crore citizens of the country. The authority is thus also responsible for creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, etc thus receive rapid, reliable and also accurate information about the food safety and also hygiene and the related issues of concern.

There are different types of fssai food license.

This article would, however, focus on the different types of fssai food license which is issued by the authority.

FSSAI, however, issues three different types of fssai food license which are: 

  • Central License
  • State License
  • Basic Registration

The three licenses, however, differ on the basis of the scale of operation of the food business which is being carried out. The following is the detailed information on the three food licenses.

1. FSSAI Registration Central License: Food business operators such as the  Importers, 100% Export Oriented Units, large manufacturers, operators in the  Central Government agencies, airports, seaports etc are however required to obtain a Central Food License. The Central license is issued by the Central Government. Furthermore, FBOs have to obtain the Central License for their head office, and if they have operations in more than 1 state. It is thus mostly for the units who are having an annual turnover which is greater than 20 crores. The maximum tenure of this license is 5 years and the minimum is 1 year.

2. FSSAI Registration State License: Food business operators like small to medium-sized manufacturers, storage units, transporters, retailers, marketers, distributors etc. are however required to obtain the Fssai State License. The State License is issued by the State Government and it is important that you have operations in only 1 state like Tamil Nadu, in order to obtain the State FSSAI License in Tamil Nadu. It is thus mostly for the units having an annual turnover of more than 12 lakh. The maximum tenure of this license is 5 years and the minimum is 1 year.

3. FSSAI Basic Registration Licence: The Food business operators like petty food manufacturers and also the small-sized manufacturers, storage units, transporters, retailers, marketers, distributors etc are thus required to obtain the FSSAI Registration. The FSSAI Registration is however issued by the State Government. Depending upon the eligibility, an FBO can thus fall under the  State or Registration license. It is thus mostly for the units having an annual turnover which is up to 12 lakh. The maximum tenure of this license is 5 years and the minimum is 1 year.

Eligibility of Food Registration

The eligibility criteria for which type of registration has been listed as follows:

Basic FSSAI Licence

FBOs that have a yearly turnover anywhere within in Rs.12 lakh are required to apply for a Basic Food Registration.

These hold all small scale operators, which are working from and within a single area, region, city or town have to be registered under FSSAI as Basic FBO. This sort of Basic certificate has to be applied to the State where the business is based. The terms for eligibility to Basic certificate are as follows:

  • FBO likes a wholesaler, distributor, supplier, and retailer, food vending establishments, hawkers, club, canteen, Dhaba, hotel, restaurants, and storage with an annual turnover of less than Rs. 12 lakh.
  • Retailers selling food items with limited operations.
  • Petty producers manufacturing by itself.
  • A makeshift stall selling food products.
  • Businesses involved in selling food at a social or religious gathering, other than a caterer.
  • Cottage industries associated with food products.
  • Production or processing units of vegetable oil by the process of solvent extraction and refineries including oil expeller system. With a capacity to provide not more than 100 kg/litre per day (except milk or meat).
  • Dairy units, involved in procurement/collection/handling/chilling of milk, having a capacity of not more than 500 liters per day, or up to 2.5 Metric Ton of milk solids annually.
  • A slaughtering capacity of not more than 2 large animals or 10 small animals or 50 poultry birds per day.

State Food License

The necessary criteria for applying for a State Food License is that the annual turnover of your business is dropping somewhere between Rs. 12 lakh up to a maximum of Rs. 20 crores. You require to apply for FSSAI State License to the state government where your business is based in. The rules directing this license are:

  • FBO likes supplier, wholesaler, distributor, retailer, food vending establishments or Dhaba, club, canteen and restaurants with an annual turnover of within Rs. 12 lakh to up to Rs. 20 crores.
  • Proprietary Foods
  • Production and processing units of vegetable oil by the process of solvent extraction and refineries including oil expeller unit. With a turnover within Rs. 12 lacs to Rs. 20 crores annually.
  • Hotels of 4-star ratings or less
  • Storages having a capacity of less than 50,000 metric tonnes yearly.
  • Dairy Units including milk chilling units, with a daily limit to handle or process, among 500 to 50000 litres.
  • A daily slaughtering capacity of more than 2 and up to 50 large animals. Or the capacity of handling more than 10 and up to 150 small animals. Or daily capacity of more than 50 to up to 1000 poultry birds.
  • All food processing units including re-packers, with a daily capacity of not less than 100 kg/litre to up to 2 metric tonnes.

Central Food License

The first state to become eligible for a Central FSSAI Registration is that the yearly turnover is over Rs. 20 crores. The Central Government is to be applied for this license. Besides this basic rule, there are some other factors to be considered. Such as 100% export oriented units, importers, operators linked with the Central Government and related agencies. The FBOs having more than one branch of restaurants or food joints require to apply for a Central Food License. FBOs operating in 2 or more states have to apply for one Central License for its Registered Head Office and separate license or registration for all branches as per the eligibility standards applicable to them. Following Food Businesses require to apply for FSSAI central license by the governing authority:

  • FBOs like restaurants, retailers, distributors, and suppliers with an annual turnover of more than Rs. 20 crore.
  • Manufacturing and processing units of vegetable oil by the method of solvent extraction and factories including oil expeller unit, with a capacity of over 2 metric tonnes per day.
  • Dhaba, club, canteen, and other food vending establishments with branches spread in more than one state and an annual turnover of more than Rs. 12 lakh.
  • Wholesalers that have an annual turnover of not less than Rs. 30 crores.
  • Hotels that have been rated 5-star or more.
  • 100 % export oriented units involved in food production or processing.
  • Every Importer including the import of food ingredients or additives.
  • Caterers working under Central Government or related agencies such as Railways, Airlines and airport, Seaport, Defence, etc.
  • Storages with a capacity of more than 50,000 metric tonnes,
  • Dairy Units (including chilling units), with a capacity to handle or process, over 50,000 litres per day,
  • A slaughtering capacity of over 50 large animals or more than 150 small animals or more than 1000 poultry birds per day,
  • All food processing units including re-packers and excluding the grains, pulses & cereals milling units with a capacity of over 2 metric tonnes per day.
  • All FBOs involved in producing an item of food, additive or its ingredient, using some new process or technology, and/or a combination thereof, whose safety has not been established yet by the FSSAI. Or they may not have a history of safe usage. It covers the food articles being introduced in the country, for the first time.

Documents required for Basic, State and Central FSSAI License

Basic FSSAI Licence

  • Declaration form
  • Authority letter
  • Copy of the property paper (if owned)
  • Copy of Rent Agreement (If rented property)
  • License or plan of the food safety management system
  • Electricity bill or water bill of business place
  • Identification proof of proprietor or partners or directors like Aadhar Card, or Voter ID card
  • Form 10 for the designation of persons by a company with the board resolution.

State FSSAI Licence

  • List of Partners, Owners, and Executive Members of Society with full address and contact details.
  • Latest Passport-sized photograph of the applicant
  • Identification proof (voter ID card or Aadhaar Card)
  • PAN Card
  • Address Proof which can be Telephone, Mobile Bill, Electricity or Gas Bill
  • A Copy of Property papers (if owned)
  • A Copy of Rent Agreement and Landlord’s NOC (if rented)
  • Partnership Deed/ MOA/AOA of the firm
  • A Copy of certificate obtained under the Co-Op Act – 1861/Multi State Co-Op Act – 2002 in the case of Co-Operatives.
  • NOC from the manufacturer (in case of Distributor)
  • Information on Source of raw material
  • NOCs from Municipality or local body
  • E-Code document issued by DGFT
  • Form IX Nomination of persons by a company

Central FSSAI License

  •  Declaration Form of FSSAI license
  •  If applicable a copy of certificate received below the Coop Act – 1861 / Multi-State Coop Act – 2002 in case of Cooperatives.
  • Completed and signed Form- B by the Partner, Authorized Signatory or Proprietor.
  • List and name of machinery and equipment alongside the quantity, installed capacity and horsepower applied. It is compulsory for production and manufacturing units only.
  • DGFT issues a document of the IE code.
  • Proof of turnover in supporting the documentary.
  • NOC from the local body or Municipality. It’s an optional document.
  • The certificate is given by the Ministry of Tourism (Hotel & Restaurant Approval and Classification Committee). In the case of hotels its Mandatory document.
  • PA/NOC documents circulated by FSSAI.
  • Copy of License from the manufacturer. Along with this the NOC of the same. This Compulsory for Repackers and Relabellers.
  • Proof of possession of premises -Sale deed, Rental Agreement or Electricity Bill, it’s optional.
  • List of Partner, Directors, Executive Members of Society, Proprietor, Trust with complete address and contact details. It is Necessary for Companies only.
  • Review report Chemical & Bacteriological of water to be applied as an ingredient in food from a verified or public health laboratory to verify the portability. It’s Necessary for manufacturing and processing units.
  • Listing of the food category wanted to be manufactured it’s for manufactures.
  •  Certificate of Food Safety Management System Plan ( FSMSP) if required.
  • Documentary evidence of turnover or self-declaration of a number of vehicles. It’s a compulsory document for Transporters.

Important Points

  • The most important thing about the FSSAI License, if it takes more than 60 days, the applicant can start without the license without waiting for further processing.
  • To protect and enhance the quality and hygiene of food, huge changes have been brought by the Food Safety & Standards Act, 2006. As per the act, it is necessary to get an FSSAI Registration and license for a person to start a food business.
  • Thus FSSAI license is needed for all activities linking to the manufacture, process, storage, packaging, and distribution of food.
  •  FSSAI License or Restaurant License is a legal responsibility that is compulsory for every Food Business Operators.
  • The Name defined in the application Form (A or B) will be the name on the Food License Certificate. So make sure it is clearly and accurately spelled.
  • You will receive all further communication on the mobile number and e-mail ID supplied in the Application Form. Make sure these are working.
  • After applying, a unique reference ID will be generated. This ID will be used during all further communications and processes for obtaining the FSSAI certificate.
  • If the operations of the FBO, e.g. a restaurant or hotel, expand to more than one state, a Central FSSAI license has to be procured for the main Branch/Head Office. And a State License or Basic Registration for each branch, as per their eligibility.
  • The Central License Certificate will be issued to the importers only on the address mentioned on their Import Export Code (IEC).
  • A single unit needs a single certificate only. Whether it is handling/producing different varieties or various processes. Just make sure that the Form (A or B) includes all the Food Items and the Processes.