In India, it is mandatory for all food businesses to obtain a food license or a food registration certificate, depending on the size and scale of their operation. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has categorized food businesses into three categories based on their annual turnover:
Food business operators (FBOs) with an annual turnover of up to Rs. 12 lakhs are required to obtain a food registration certificate.
FBOs with an annual turnover between Rs. 12 lakhs and Rs. 20 crores are required to obtain a state-level food license.
FBOs with an annual turnover of more than Rs. 20 crores are required to obtain a central-level food license.
Food businesses include any entity that handles, processes, stores, manufactures, distributes, or sells food products.
Some examples of food businesses that need a food license or registration certificate are:
Restaurants and hotels
Caterers and food trucks
Food manufacturers and processors
Food importers and exporters
Food storage and distribution centers
Food packaging units
Online food delivery platforms
Food vending machines
Even small food businesses like home-based catering services or small-scale food manufacturers are required to obtain a food registration certificate from the FSSAI. This ensures that even the smallest food business in India follows proper food safety and quality practices to ensure the safety of the consumers.
Food service establishments: This includes cafes, coffee shops, juice bars, bakeries, and other food service establishments that prepare and sell food items.
Street food vendors: Street food vendors, such as chaat stalls, bhel puri stalls, and pani puri vendors, are also required to obtain a food license or registration certificate.
Food processing units: Any unit that processes or manufactures food products, such as pickles, sauces, snacks, or packaged food, is required to obtain a food license.
Dairy units: Dairy units, including milk processing plants, ice cream factories, and other dairy product manufacturers, are required to obtain a food license.
Food packaging units: Any unit that packages food products, such as bottling plants, canning factories, and other food packaging units, is required to obtain a food license.
Food testing laboratories: Laboratories that conduct food testing and analysis must also obtain a food license.
It is important to note that even if a food business operates from a home kitchen, it is still required to obtain a food registration certificate. This applies to home-based food businesses such as home bakers, home chefs, and small-scale food manufacturers.