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Feature: Central licensing application – A practical walkthrough
Wednesday, 29 February, 2012, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Prabodh Halde, Chetana Bhandari

With the implementation of the Food Safety and Standard Regulations, it is imperative for every food business operator wanting to conduct business in food to obtain a valid licence from the Food Safety & Standards Authority of India (Ref licensing regulation 2.1). This implies that every food business operator in the country needs to take either registration or licence as per applicability.

Who is food business operator?

FBO in relation to food business means a person:

  • by whom the business is carried on or

  • who owns the business or

  • is responsible to ensure compliance under the Act and / or Regulations

    What is food business?

    Food business means any undertaking, whether for profit or not and whether public or private, carrying out any of the activities related to any stage of manufacture, processing, packaging, storage, transportation, distribution of food, import and includes food services, catering services, sale of food or food ingredients (Ref: Definition given in Section 3 of FSSA 2006).

    Three-tier licensing system has been established where the big businesses (FBOs under Schedule1) will obtain licence from the Central Licensing Authority, the distributors, medium-scale businesses will get a licence from the state authority and the petty food manufacturers like street vendors will only need a registration with the registering authority.

    A period of one year (till August 4, 2012) has been provided from the date of notification of the regulations to the food business operators for the migration of existing licences to license under FSSA. The licence may be obtained for a period of 1 to 5 years as chosen by the FBO.

    Punishment for not having licence

    Under FSS Act Section 63 this is punishable offence.

    If any person or food business operator (except the persons exempted from licensing under Sub-Section (2) of Section 31 of this Act), himself or by any person on his behalf who is required to obtain licence, manufactures, sells, stores or distributes or imports any article of food without licence, shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to six months and also with a fine which may extend to Rs five lakh.

    This write-up is an attempt to provide some useful insights to the FBOs about the process of application for a Central licence.

    Online filing of application

    The first step in the process of application for Central licence is the online application. FSSAI has facilitated the process of applying for a licence online on the FSSAI website (fssai.gov.in). The food business operator seeking a Central licence must fill Form B online. The food business operator must register on the website to obtain a user ID and password following which the application can be filled online. There is a provision of checking the eligibility of the food business operator for licensing under Central / state or registration before filling the application. This feature consists of a set of simple questions answering which the FBO can derive the eligibility for licensing. Following this, the form must be filled with the correct details.

    The following information must be kept handy while making an online application -

    ● Name of the organisation and registered office address

    ● Organisation’s turnover and number of states in which it operates

    ● Details of the premises for which licence is being applied

    ● List of food commodities being manufactured / handled by the FBO

    ● Details of technical person in charge - name, qualification, contact details with photo identity card number and its expiry date

    ● Details of person responsible for compliance of licensing conditions - name, qualification, contact details with photo identity card number and its expiry date

    ● Existing licence number, date of issue, date of expiry, issuing authority and fee paid for licence

    ● Demand draft number, the issuing bank, respective branch, date of issue and the amount


    Once the details are entered correctly and the online application is complete, the same can be submitted. Post-successful submission, an acknowledgement accepting the application is generated with a unique reference number for the submitted application. The FBO must print the acknowledgement and the online application form. These copies must be submitted by the FBO along with the documents required while applying for a licence. The following is the list of documents to be enclosed for new application to the Central Licensing Authority:

    1. Acknowledgement and online application form

    2. Form-B duly completed and signed (in duplicate) by the authorised signatory

    2. Blueprint/layout plan of the processing unit showing the dimensions in metres/square metres and operation-wise area allocation

    3. List of directors with full address and contact details

    4. Name and list of equipments and machinery along with the number, installed capacity and horsepower used

    5. Photo ID and address proof issued by government authority of proprietor/ partner/ director(s)/ authorised signatory

    6. List of food category desired to be manufactured (in case of manufacturers)

    7. Authority letter with name and address of responsible person nominated by the manufacturer along with alternative responsible person indicating the powers vested with them, viz, assisting the officers in inspections, collection of samples, packing & dispatch

    8. Analysis report (chemical & bacteriological) of water to be used as ingredient in food from a recognised/ public health laboratory to confirm the portability indicating the name of authorised representative of lab who collected the sample and date of collecting sample

    9. Proof of possession of premises (sale deed/ rent agreement/ electricity bill, etc.)

    10. Partnership deed/affidavit/memorandum & articles of association towards the constitution of the firm

    11. Copy of certificate obtained under Coop Act - 1861/Multi State Coop Act - 2002 in case of cooperatives

    12. NOC from manufacturer in case of Re-labellers

    13. Food Safety Management System plan or certificate if any

    14. Source of milk or procurement plan for milk including location of milk collection centres etc. in case of milk and milk products processing units

    15. Source of raw material for meat and meat processing plants

    16. Pesticide residues report of water to be used as ingredient in case of units manufacturing packaged drinking water, packaged mineral water and/or carbonated water from a recognised/ public health laboratory indicating the name of authorised representative of lab who collected the sample and date of collecting sample, including source of raw water and treatment plan

    17. Recall plan wherever applicable, with details on to whom the product is distributed

    18. NOCs from municipality or local body and from state pollution control board except in case of notified industrial area

    There are certain minimal documents which are required only for renewal or transfer of licence given under other existing laws prior to these Regulations as enlisted below:

    1. Any change in documents or information provided during grant of previous
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