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Food is the basic necessity of every human being, as we drive nutrition and energy from it to perform day-to-day activities. Despite being such an essential part of survival, it’s a commodity that can/is easily adulterated, and its quality and safety are majorly overlooked. This rampant food contamination is taking a toll on people’s health. Thus, the food you consume must stand on specific quality standards, be prepared hygienically, and contain nutrient value as expected.

To maintain safety and quality, storage, manufacturing, sale, distribution and import of different food articles in India, FSSAI has worked up fixed packaging guidelines. From laying guidelines for the facilities where food is prepared, this body also regulates various packaging components like paper, glass, plastic, printing inks, metals etc., basically all access the supply chain. FSSAI mandates specific guidelines, principles, standards and regulations that every food business operator has to abide by. It all falls under Food Safety Management System based on the Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point (HACCP) plan. It is the responsibility of FSSAI to register and licence the food business operators. Having FSSAI approval simply ensures that the products are safe and healthy for human consumption. In this post, you will learn about FSSAI — who needs it, its importance and the guidelines you need to follow if you are a food business operator. 

Table of content

  • What is FSSAI?
  • Objective of FSSAI
  • Types of FSSAI licence
  • FSSAI guidelines for packed food labels
  • FSSAI guidelines for manufacturers and sellers

What is FSSAI?
For those who have just entered or are planning to start a food industry business and don’t know about FSSAI, dont worry; we will start from the basics. FSSAI stands for food safety and standards authority of India. It is an independent organisation formed by the Indian government’s Ministry of Health & Family Welfare. The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, a consolidated act about food safety and regulation in India, formed the FSSAI. The FSSAI body regulates and oversees food to safeguard and advance public health.

Objective of FSSAI
This will guarantee customer interest and adhere to the highest degree of honesty when rules and practices are established.
It safeguards and supports public health by monitoring and regulating food safety.
It aids in increasing stakeholders’ capacity for active involvement in food hygiene and safety.
Help customers to make wise selections about what they want to consume thanks to the valuable information.

Who needs an FSSAI licence?
All food manufacturers
Food packaging units
Food products transporters and distributors
Food products exporters and importers
Wholesale food business operators
Caters and hotel raw food suppliers
Food product retailers
Food storage units
Food traders
Online food business operators

Types of FSSAI licence
The scope and level of food industry activity vary amongst the three types of FSSAI licences. More specifically,

FSSAI  Basic Registration
Operators in the food sector, such as small-scale food producers, storage facilities, transporters, retailers, marketers, distributors, and so on, often obtain this type of online food registration. Generally speaking, it is for food businesses with an annual revenue of at least 12 lakh rupees.

FSSAI State License 
This kind of FSSAI state licence is typically issued to small to medium-sized food producers, storage facilities, merchants, transporters, distributors, and marketers, among others. It is primarily for food businesses with annual sales of over 12 lakh but under 20 crores.

FSSAI central licence
Large-scale manufacturers, transporters, distributors, marketers and food company operators with a multi-state presence usually seek the FSSAI central licence. Businesses with yearly sales of more than 20 crores fall under this category.

Food label guidelines
A well-designed food label is always there on every product you find on store shelves. Well, that label is not only legally mandatory but also helps brands keep their customer well-informed and help in decision-making. When people know that they can consume a product safely or when they need to avoid it, this leads to less wastage of food. Also, the woke customer nowadays is more concerned about nutritional information, ingredients and benefits that a product holds. This comes after food-related health problems and diseases are on the rise. So, brands need to be transparent and communicate the correct information to the consumer. If you own a company of pre-packed food, there are a few things that your product label must include; let’s see what these are:

    • Clear name of the food item with true representation with no false claims
    • Information about the nutritional value offered, along with the percentage.
    • List of ingredients in descending order of weight
    • Instructions/Directions for preparation, usage, or product description, manufacturing dates, address, market data, MRP, and expiration date should be accurately indicated in storage conditions to keep the same taste, texture, scent, and feel.
    • Origin of brand and contact information (customer care) should be included as it always ensures brand loyalty.
    • Allergy and caution information should be there to prevent any worries after intake, 
    • A brand story that can help you stand out from the competition and boost your ability to be remembered
    • Veg and non-veg icons and badges designating specific information are also included.
    • The FSSAI Number and barcode are required.

FSSAI guidelines for manufacturers and sellers

  • The FSSAII guidelines aren’t restricted to food product labels but to the institution to ensure that food preparation, processing and storage are done in hygienic and clean facilities. To maintain it, each FSSAI licensee has to follow the following rules:
  • Uphold the FSSAI regulations to maintain worker hygiene, sanitary conditions, and hygienic standards at the factory.
  • Maintained daily records for raw materials, utilisation, production, and sales.
  • Ensure the raw materials’ source and standards are of the highest quality.
  • Not to produce, store, or expose any food items on the property that cannot be effectively separated from a bathroom, urinal, sullage, drain, or other location that houses unclean or waste materials.
  • Clean the machinery and tools regularly.
  • Make sure to test food products for specific chemical and microbiological contaminants at least once every six months.
  • Maintain the required temperature from sourcing or procurement until it reaches the final consumer.
  • Food establishments should be located distant from industrial regions that release pollutants, poisons, hazardous gases, etc., that could threaten to contaminate food areas.
  • With covered lights, the area around the restaurant should be well-lit. The ventilation and air quality system must be built and configured to prevent air from moving from the clean region to the contaminated one.
  • One of the most frequent causes of food poisoning is cross-contamination. Food goods that are vegetarian and non-vegetarian should be kept in separate refrigerators in neatly packaged containers.
  • The unit should have a working pest control system, a drinkable water supply, and sanitary transportation facilities.

Conclusion
Food contamination is quite a common problem in India. To maintain quality and regulate safety, FSSAI has established specific rules and regulations that every food business owner needs to follow to enter and survive in the market. Also, every food manufacturer and seller must get an FSSAI licence to operate a business.

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