Food standards and safety are a major reason for concern for the Indian government.
To regulate and maintain the quality, safety, manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale, and import of any food article, the government of India has established.
The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) under Food Safety and Standards, 2006.
Since food items can be easily adulterated and their safety and quality over the entire process.
Starting from production to consumption can easily be manipulated by Food Business Operators.
There are certain science-based principles, guidelines, regulations, and standards these companies have to follow as mandated by FSSAI.
To ensure food safety, Food Processing Units must follow the Food Safety Management System (FSMS).
This system is based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan
FSSAI is responsible for registering and licensing these FBOs or Food Business Operators.
FSSAI approval ensures the availability of safe and healthy food items for human consumption.
Who needs an FSSAI license?
All food manufacturers
Food packaging units
Food storage units
Food products exporters and importers
Food products transporters and distributors
Online food business operators
Wholesale food business operators
Food product retailers
Caters and hotel raw food suppliers
All the above-mentioned need to have FSSAI basic registration and license. The criteria for state and central license are different from the basic ones.
Required Documents for FSSAI License:
The FSSAI license is mandatory for anyone in the food business. Here’s a list of documents required for applying for the FSSAI license.
- Completed application form duly signed by the owner/s along with their ID proofs
- Blueprint/layout plan with dimensions of the processing unit
- List of directors/proprietor with full contact details
- List of equipment and machines installed along with a list of food category
- Authority letter verifying the nominee
- Proof showing possession of premises (sale deed/ rent agreement/ electricity)
- Partnership deed, etc.
Basic Regulations and Obligations That Food Manufacturers and Sellers Must Follow:
- Food establishments to be far away from industrial locations emitting pollutants, toxins, dangerous fumes, etc which might pose a threat to the contamination of food areas.
- Maintain factory’s sanitary and hygienic standards and worker’s hygiene as specified in the FSSAI rules.
- The food establishment area should be well-lit with covered lights. The air quality and ventilation system should be designed and constructed in such a way so that air does not flow from the contaminated area to the clean area.
- Cross-contamination is one of the most common causes of food poisoning. Vegetarian and Non-Vegetarian food products should be stored in separate refrigerators in clean packed containers.
- Maintain daily and organized records of the production, raw materials, utilization, and sales throughout the entire process separately.
- Ensure that the source and standards of raw materials are of the optimum, required quality.
- Any article of food in any premises that don’t effectively break away any privy, urinal, sullage, drain, or place of storage of foul and waste should be manufactured, stored, or sold.
- Regularly clean and sterilize the machine and equipment.
- Ensure testing for the presence of possible chemical and/or microbiological contaminants in food products, at least once in six months.
- Ensure to maintain the temperature required throughout the entire production-supply chain.
- The unit should be well-equipped with the regularly tested potable water system, pest system, and clean transportation facilities
- The packaged raw material must be checked for ‘expiry date’/ ‘best before’/ ‘use by’ date, packaging integrity, and storage conditions.
The above mentioned are a few main regulations (out of the many) that the Food Business Operators need to follow for applying for FSSAI licensing. If any food business operator fails to follow so, rejection of the application or even cancellation of license, if already acquired, is done by FSSAI.