Food Business Operators or businesses working with food in any capacity have to register for a food license. Companies can only get a food license through the FSSAI registration, which is quite tedious since several factors would change the registration process. They would select the type of registration based on the size of the establishment, the annual turnover, the number of branches they have, and the work they were doing. If any of the information on the forms changes in one of the years, the applicant has to review their FSSAI registration and make changes moving forward. At the time of renewing the application, they have to apply for an updated one, making sure they go through the section that their company falls under. Furthermore, it would mean a different application fee, depending on the change.
The FSSAI license is essential to commence the food business and is a mandatory license that companies cannot get out of applying for. Similarly, it is imperative to renew the license since they are issued for a validity of one year or five years, depending on the business and type of registration that they completed.
Since businesses cannot work without a Food licence, they should begin the application for a renewal at least 30 days before the expiry of the current license. FSSAI has introduced an online application called Food Licensing and Registration System (FLRS), allowing businesses to apply online for the renewal. The online platforms were put together by various state Governments to encourage more people to get through the process without too much trouble.
There are multiple benefits of getting an FSSAI licence, and some of them are:
- Obtaining a license can provide the food business with legal benefits. When Government official and FSSAI registered inspectors inspect a business, a safe assumption is that they have vetted the business so getting in any trouble, while following the rules would receive the backing of the entire organization.
- There is a lot of goodwill that exists from working with the FSSAI, and it encourages people to work with the company. They trust that the establishment has their paperwork and are following the rules when getting things done. These changes also ensure food safety since the establishment follows the rules when working
- While the FSSAI brands companies that work with them, it creates awareness for the rest that there is a new FBO in their midst. This information can significantly assist with the process of business expansion.
- The FSSAI registration also helps regulate, manufacture, storage, distribution and sale of import food.
- Any registered or licensed companies under the FSSAI that are not adhering to the rules and regulation under the FSS Act, 2006 would have to deal with massive fines and penalties. Food safety officer inspects the facilities and identifies the level of compliance with the regulation using a checklist. The compliance levels are below.
- Compliance (C)
- Non-compliance (NC)
- Partial compliance (PC)
- Not applicable/Not observed (NA)
Based on the progress of the establishment, the food safety officer might issue an improvement notice wherever required as per Section 32 of the FSS Act, 2006. If the FBO does not comply with the improvement notice, the officer, after allowing the licensee to show cause, may cancel their license. Any food business operator aggrieved by an improvement notice can appeal to the State Commissioner of Food Safety. The decision thereon can be challenged by appealing to the Food Safety Appellate Tribunal/High Court.
All businesses, whether working with food or not have to register through the Shops and Establishments Act as well. After completing the registration, they receive a shop licence that has to be displayed at the premises of the establishment so that the people visiting it know that the company is registered. All the forms for all the registration processes are available online, and business owners can download them whenever they get the chance and fill them out at their convenience. One of the positives of working with the website is that the information is readily available, and companies can get through it without having to travel to an office to get through the application process.