India: Licenses for Food Businesses – Deadline is 2016

Posted By: Selerant RSA


India Food Safety and Standards Authority - FSSAI has for the third time moved the target date by which all Food Business Operators need to be registered with the FSSAI. It is now by February 4, 2016 that food operators need to have a license/registration if they wish to start or continue their food-related operations.


The Food Safety and Standards Act 2006
, Section 31(1) has made it mandatory for all Food Business Operators in the country to obtain license from the regulator, the FSSAI, to be legally allowed to operate. Prior to Food Safety and Standards Act 2006, manufacturers who manufactured products governed by different acts had to obtain multiple licenses. Upon the enactment of the FSS act in 2006, all Food Business Operators came under the jurisdiction of a unified license issuing body, the FSSAI.

Furthermore, according to Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration) Regulations, 2011, no person or organization can commence food business in India without a valid license obtained from FSSAI. Also, the issued license has to be renewed annually (Section 2.1.2).

Extending Deadlines

The process of issuing licenses first started in 2012. The initial deadline set for Food Business Operators was August 4, 2012. This date was subsequently moved twice after feedback from various stakeholders and now, as per the latest notification, it stands at February 4, 2016.

Different Licenses

The system of obtaining licenses depends on: capacity (in case of manufacturer) or turnover (for certain businesses) and/or location. Licenses may fall under three broad categories: Central, State and Registration. The provisions differ according to different categories. For example:

-        Central licenses are issued to these types of businesses: importers, export-oriented units, manufacturers, central government authorities at airports or seaports

-        State licenses are issued to: manufacturers, storages, transporters, retailers, marketers and distributors

-        Registration is needed for smaller businesses, with annual turnover under the limit set by the authorities.

Food Business Operators can check the type of regislation/licence they are eligible for at FSSAI Food Licencing Portal.

To get more regulatory news like this, sign-up to get your monthly copy of the Newsletter. To stay up-to-date with the overall legislation changes, sign up for a free trial of RegData®.