FSSAI License: What Happens When You Don’t Have It?

Last Updated at: Dec 03, 2020
Earlier, FSSAI chairperson announced that the regulator has decided to set up six new branch offices, four new import offices and two new food laboratories as part of its effort to boost in-house capacity. With this, FSSAI will have four regional offices in New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata, 12 branch offices and 6 import offices.


With each passing day, several hundreds of thousands of businesses are launched. And, many of them are related to the food industry dealing with diary, meat, vegetables, fruits, spices, beverages. But it is still doubtful if all these products are of high quality and only the FSSAI license will declare the same.

Every day, more than a hundred businesses are launched that work around food – from dairy and meat to vegetables, spices, and beverages. But do we really know whether the eatables coming on to our plate are palatable? The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) license is aimed at doing just that.

The basic legislative intent behind introducing food license is to keep a tab on the quality of the output of food products. Since we know that food is highly likely to get contaminated due to unhygienic processing, improper collection, exposure to temperature and air or when it’s being sold past it shelf life, the FSSAI undertakes scientific food safety management and works closely with businesses to ensure that the food that’s made available to us is safe for human consumption.

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Who needs an FSSAI License?

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Irrespective of whether you’re the owner of a commercial unit or a home-based food supplier, whether the mode is online or offline, all eligible businesses in the food spectrum, from manufacturers, retailers, storage and transporters, distributors will require this license. Since the scope is very wide, it covers all food service providers including hotels, restaurants/boarding houses, clubs etc. serving food, Canteens of offices and educational institutions, Caterers, Banquet halls with food catering arrangements, food vendors like dabbawallas etc.

The FSSAI License is usually issued by the State Government. However, for Food operators that operate in more than one state, the Head Office needs to apply for a Central level license. Further, importers and exporters also need to apply for the Central License.

What happens when you do not apply for an FSSAI License?

The following are the consequences of not possessing a valid FSSAI License:

  1. The FSSAI Logo: You cannot use the FSSAI symbol. While a small food business may still get away with not putting this logo, as consumers become more educated, these little validations can go a long way when it comes to the cut-throat competition that the food business witnesses.
  2. Trouble obtaining credit: Most investors, banks or lenders will do a primary check to see if you’ve got your basic licenses in order. Any business planning to scale to a greater level must apply for the license based on predicted sales/capacity.
  3. Save money at the risk of reputation: While you may be able to save on the annual fee (which is in the range of 2000-5000), but in the absence of this license, it may be very difficult to prove to your customers that you maintain high standards of hygiene in your processes.
  4. Risking disqualification from food-tenders etc: Not possessing an FSSAI License may also make it harder for you to apply to corporate events, fill tenders or make your way to a larger set-up as most of these opportunities will stipulate the requirement of a valid FSSAI License.
  5. Liability: If any person or food business operator (except those exempted from licensing)who are mandatorily required to obtain a license, but manufacturers, trades, sells or distributes any food article without a license, then an imprisonment for a term of up to 6 months and a fine which may extend to Rs. 5,00,000 may be levied.

Missing out on quality assessments – Most importantly, as FSSAI aims to improve standards for the wholesomeness of food, the State governments often review existing procedures for manufacturing/storage etc of food grains, milk, spices, meat and other consumables. If you do not apply for a license despite meeting eligibility guidelines, you’re potentially losing out on improving your procedures and standard of quality.

If you run a food business and you do not possess a license from FSSAI, then you need to know that it is very important as it will convey that your products are of high quality. And, you cannot prove customers that your food is safe from issues such as unhygienic processing, exposure to extreme temperature and air and improper collection.

To know more about FSSAI Registration: Click here 

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Avani Mishra is a graduate in law from the National Law Institute University, Bhopal. She qualified the Company Secretary course with an All India Rank 1 and is a recipient of the President’s Gold Medal for her academic distinctions. She also holds a B.Com degree with a specialization in Corporate Affairs and Administration.