Food Business Operator License in India

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Food Business Operator License in India

The Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 was introduced in India to consolidate the laws relating to food and to establish the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India for laying down science-based standards for articles of food and to regulate their manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and import, to ensure availability of safe and wholesome food for human consumption and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. With the introduction of the Act, many businesses involved in the handling of food products have come under the ambit of Food Standards and Safety Authority of India and are require to be licensed. In this article, we will look at which types of business require a food business operator license, the process for securing a food business operator license in India and finally the penalties for not complying.

Which business requires a food business operator license?

Unless a person is a petty retailer, hawker, itinerant vendor or a temporary stallholder or cottage industry relating to the food business, it requires to have a valid food business operator license to commence or carry on any food business.
Therefore, it requires a food business operator license for anyone who involves in the production, processing, import, distribution and sale of the food product within the business under his/her control. If the articles of food are manufactured, stored, sold or exhibited for sale at different premises situated in more than one area, separate applications have to be made for each such premises not falling within the same area.

How to apply for a Food Business Operator license?

To apply for a Food Business Operator license, put an application for grant of a license to the Designated State Government or Central Government office along with the fees, in the specific manner containing the relevant documents. The Designated Officer then grants the license or refuses to grant a license after giving the applicant an opportunity of being heard.
In case of not issuing the license for Food Business Operators within two months from the date of making the application and it does not reject the application, the applicant may start the food business after the expiry of the said period.

What is the penalty or punishment for carrying out a food business without a license?

If any person or food business operator, manufactures, sells, stores or distributes or imports any article of food without a license, he/she shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term, which may extend to six months and also with a fine of not more than five lakh rupees.
Therefore, considering the gravity of the penalty and punishment, all food business operators have to apply for and obtain a food business operators license at the earliest.

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