The Food Standards and Safety Authority of India (FSSAI) is one of the most prominent specialists which is also an in-charge of controlling and managing the nourishment security pan India. It is a compulsory task for all the Food Business Operators (FBOs) to acquire an FSSAI License. A typical perplexity that is among the FBOs are the Licenses that an E-commerce or Online food operator is required to get. FSSAI regarding it wrote down science-based norms for particular articles of food and it will likewise manage their fabrication, stockpiling, dissemination, dealing, and the most important importation to guarantee the accessibility of safe and furthermore healthy nourishment to 130 crore people of India.
What Can Online Food Operators do?
FSSAI has recently extended its scope to include the applications of e-commerce food services, and this category also provides delivery services. Of late, in India, the food e-commerce sector has grown tremendously well. As these platforms operate widely, it is essential for these services to ensure compliance with FSSAI, which could be severe.
Lately, e-commerce food enterprises such as online food delivery apps like Zomato, Swiggy, UberEats, etc. or online grocery stores like Big Basket, Grofers, etc. has grown tremendously. There are a variety of guidelines, about a different aspect of an e-commerce food enterprise they mainly relate to registration, licensing, and listing information. Below is a brief list of all the guidelines issued by FSSAI relating to the FSSAI License for e-commerce and online food operators:
- Display the display panel clearly which must include the batch number or lot number, best before, expiry date and the Maximum Retail Price (MRP) of the goods;
- Provide an image of the goods sold via online FBO platform;
- State the FSSAI License or the registration number.
- Give other information relating to the product or services that shall be made available;
- To maintain a basic level of quality and hygiene of the food products and services, every e-commerce FBO shall comply with the Food Safety and Standards (Licensing and Registration of Food Businesses], Regulations 2011.
FSSAI License and Registration
The regulation of FSSAI on Licensing and Registration of Food Business makes it mandatory for all e-commerce food businesses are covered within the First Schedule of the regulation to obtain a FSSAI license for its operations. The Central Licensing Authority of India issues such permits.
Recently due to certain delivery related miss-happenings were doing round on all over the internet, FSSAI issued new guidelines directing all e-commerce FBOs to engage only trained delivery personnel for last-mile delivery to the customer’s place, which was done to maintain food quality and food safety.
Note: The mandatory licensing and registration requirement does not hold for those e-commerce FBOs which are involved in extending directory services or listing of products and services. However, they must provide a disclaimer that any violation of FSS and obligation arising therein rests with the sellers, brand owners, vendors, importers, or manufacturers of the food products.
Moreover, these FBOs require to show compliance with the following guidelines:
- Must not provide any false claims or misleading information of the sellers, brand owners, manufacturers, distributors, retailers, vendors, or other importers.
- Must not to display any misleading images of food products or food-related services.
Who all are E-Commerce Food Business Operators?
As per the guidelines laid down by the FSSAI for e-commerce business operators, there to be two types of business models.
- Market-Based Model of E-Commerce: It refers to an e-commerce activity that acts as a link between the buyer and seller by providing a digital platform for networking. It connects the brand owner and the consumer via electronic means.
- Inventory-Based Model of E-Commerce: An e-commerce activity where the inventory of food products and food services is owned by e-commerce FBO and is sold to the customers directly online.
It can then be further divided into sub-three forms as:
- Digital Platforms or entities that are involved in listing services to all the sellers, manufacturers, restaurants, etc. on their electronic/online platform. This platform is used to facilitate like-structured commerce operations.
- When brand owners, manufacturers, producers or sellers themselves involved in the display of their products or services (catering, processing or packaging) for direct sale to customers via either a market-based or an inventory-based e-commerce platform.
- Delivery Organizations also come under the definition of an e-commerce FBO because it extends the facility of storage and or distribution services to the sellers thus listed on their online portal. It covers transportation from the seller or manufacturer to the consumer directly.
FSSAI License Requirement
For all FBOs apart from small-scale businesses, FSSAI license must be obtained. FSSAI License is classified into two categories, i.e., State FSSAI License and Central FSSAI License based on the size of their particular business and also upon whether it is a medium scale or large scale business.
Mostly, E-commerce FBOs are those with large manufacturers, importers, exporters dealing in large-scale food business thus need to obtain an FSSAI license from Central Government, on the other hand, FBOs with small to medium-sized manufacturing units, transporters, marketers, traders, etc., need to take FSSAI registration from their respective State Government.
Documents required for obtaining the Central license:
- Form B and Form IX completed and signed,
- A proper plan of the processing unit showing the place dimensions and operation-wise area allocation,
- Complete list of Directors/ Partners/ Proprietor with their Address, Contact Details, and a Photo ID,
- Complete list of every equipment and machinery to be used with their number and installed capacity,
- Full list of every food category to be manufactured,
- An authority letter from the manufacturer nominated for doing the job,
- Detailed analysis report on the water to be used in the whole process,
- Particular sources of raw material for milk, meat, etc.,
- A recall plan wherever applicable,
- The Ministry of Commerce (MOC) Certificate for 100% EOU,
- A NOC/PA document which must be issued by the FSSAI itself,
- An IE code document issued by the DGFT,
- A Certificate from the Ministry of Tourism,
- Any proof of possession of the premises,
- A partnership affidavit of particular proprietorship,
- A complete NOC and a copy of License from the manufacturer,
- The food safety management system plan or any certificate,
- Particular NOC from the municipality or any local body,
- Document for the proof of turnover and transportation to be provided,
- A complete Declaration form.
The above list of documents is mandatory to get a Central license or else it might result in the cancellation of the application.
FSSAI has also given directions to all the e-commerce FBOs to put in place a complaint redressal mechanism. It has mentioned that the redressal of particular complaints launched by the consumers must be resolved within a given timeline, prescribed by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs (MCA). FSSAI also issued directions to the e-commerce food businesses to be strictly compliant with all the regulations mentioned hereby if they are willing to do business in India.
Getting a license should be one’s top priority when opening an online food business. LetsComply is the one-stop solution for all kinds of documentation and obtaining an online FSSAI License. To know more, call us at +91-9717070500 or send an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.