Food food license

Get Food License by filling up the Food License Registration Form Below

Food License Registration Form

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Food License Meaning

Food is basically the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. It is a regulatory body, which has been established under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Both, “Ministry of Health & Family Welfare” and “Government of India”, act as the administrators and the consultants for the Food Food License. It is the responsible body for setting standards for food and it’s processes, along with having the authority to penalize non-compliant businesses. Food is a legal entity based in Delhi, with offices located throughout India to ease businesses in getting their “Food License”. Sometimes it may also be referred to as the “Food Authority of India”.
The aim is to ensure that the food products which are being delivered to the consumers are wholesome and fit for human consumption.

Functions Of Food License

Food was incorporated to facilitate “food safety”. For this purpose, it has laid down standards for all processes such as manufacturing, storage, distribution, sale and import of food items. All these standards have been tested and are backed-up by science. Food was created with a vision to ensure that the food item is adulteration-free, consumable and healthy.
Food sets up the guidelines for food safety and also enforces various safety standards involved during all processes, starting from producing, manufacturing, transporting, packaging or re-packaging, distributing, retailing, etc.

Food, as empowered by the Food Safety and Security Act of 2006, has to regulate as well as frame the procedure to regulate the FBO. It sets up the guidelines for testing of food items across India and has also curated a standardized procedure which is to be followed by the laboratories.

Food also acts as an advisor to the Central Government by providing scientific advice and technical support. To achieve this it collects and analyzes data, related to contamination and risks. It also helps in spreading general awareness about safe food habits and nutrition, etc., across the general public.

Kinds of Food License Registration

Under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006, any business entity, having operations related to food, at whatever level or scale, has to register itself and get an Food License. The business could be involved in any single step or all stages of manufacturing, wholesaling, supplying, trading, packing or re-packing, importing or exporting or even transporting, but it still has to go through the Food registration process. Else, it might get charged with non-compliance. Food also has the authority to “shut down a business, to prohibit a business from operating further, charge penalties and take a legal action against a business which can result in “imprisonment of the involved persons or directors of the business”.

Whether you are to apply for an Food License or an Food Registration only, depends on a few factors. The key factors taken into consideration are annual turnover, installed capacity, area of operations, whether limited to a certain state, branches, etc. The kinds are:

  • Basic Food Registration,
  • State Food License,
  • Central Food License.

Eligibility of Food License Registration

Let’s understand who is eligible for which type of registration, based on the scale of their operation and turnover.

Basic Food Registration

All those businesses with an annual turnover of less than Rs.12 lakh are required to apply for a Basic Food Registration. So all small scale operators, that are operating from and within one particular city or town have to be registered under Food. The application form has to be filed with the State. The provisions are as follows:

  • FBO (wholesaler, retailer, distributor, supplier, food vending establishments or Dhaba, club, canteen, hotel, restaurants, storage) with an annual turnover of not more than Rs.12 lakh,
  • Retailers selling food products, with limited operations,
  • Petty manufacturers operating by himself,
  • A temporary stall selling food items,
  • Individual distributing food at a social or religious gathering, other than a caterer,
  • Cottage industries dealing in food,
  • Manufacturing and/or Processing units of vegetable oil by the process of solvent extraction and refineries including oil expeller unit,
  • Having a capacity to produce up to 100 kg/litre per day (except milk or meat),
  • Dairy units, involved in procurement/handling/collection/chilling of milk, with a capacity of not more than 500 litres per day, or up to 2.5 Metric Ton of milk solids per annum,
  • A slaughtering capacity of not more than 2 large animals or 10 small animals or 50 poultry birds per day.

State Food License

The basic criteria involved in applying for a “State Food License” is that the annual turnover of your business must fall somewhere between Rs.12 lakh to Rs20 crores. You need to apply to the particular state government, where your business is based in. The rules governing this license are:

  • FBO (wholesaler, retailer, distributor, supplier, food vending establishments or Dhaba, club, canteen, restaurants) with an annual turnover of between Rs.12 lakh to up to Rs.20 crores,
  • Proprietary Foods,
  • Manufacturing and/or Processing units of vegetable oil by the process of solvent extraction and refineries including oil expeller unit, having a turnover between Rs.12 lacs to Rs.20 crores per annum,
  • Hotels up to 4-star ratings,
  • Storage having a capacity of up to 50,000 metric tonnes,
  • Dairy Units, including chilling units, with a capacity to handle or process, between 500 to 50,000 litres per day,
  • A slaughtering capacity of more than 2, up to 50 large animals or from 10 to up to 150 small animals or from 50 to up to 1000 poultry birds per day,
  • All food processing units other than mentioned above including re-packers, with a capacity of more than 100kg/litre & up to 2 metric tonnes per day.

Central Food License

The basic condition to apply for a Central Food Registration, is having a turnover of more than Rs.20 crores per annum. The Central Government is the issuing authority here. Besides this basic eligibility rule, there are more standards to be followed. These include 100% export oriented units, importers, operators associated with the Central Government and related agencies.

The FBOs with multiple branches of restaurants or food joints are required to apply for a Central Food License. An FBO operating in two or more states has to obtain one Central License for its Registered Head Office and a separate license/registration for each branch as per the applicable eligibility criteria.

Furthermore, the Central Food License is mandatory for entities delivering food at airports and seaports.

Following Food Business Owners are eligible to apply for Food central license by the regulatory authority:

  • FBO (retailer, distributor, supplier, restaurants) with an annual turnover of more than Rs. 20 crore,
  • Manufacturing and/or Processing units of vegetable oil by the process of solvent extraction and refineries including oil expeller unit, having a capacity of more than 2 metric tonnes per day,
  • Dhaba, club, canteen, and food vending establishments having multiple branches in more than one state and a turnover of over Rs. 12 lakh,
  • Wholesalers with an annual turnover of over Rs. 30 crores,
  • Hotels with a 5-star rating or above,
  • 100 % export oriented units engaged in food production or processing,
  • All Importers (including those importing food ingredients or additives),
  • Caterers located under Central Government or related agencies such as Railways, Air and airport, Seaport, Defence, etc.
  • Storage having a capacity of up to 50,000 metric tonnes,
  • Dairy Units, including chilling units, with a capacity to handle or process, more than 50,000 litres per day,
  • A slaughtering capacity of more than 50 large animals or more than 150 small animals or more than 1000 poultry birds per day,
  • All food processing units other than mentioned above including re-packers, (except all grains, cereals & pulses milling units) with a capacity of more than 2 metric tonnes per day,
  • All FBOs involved in manufacturing a certain ingredient of food, using some new technology, process or a combination, whose safety level has not been established yet by the Food. It includes those food items, which are being introduced for the first time in the country.

Documents required for Food License registration

  • Photo Identity of Promoters of the Food Business
  • Evidence of possession of premises (Rental Agreement / Utility Bill)
  • Partnership Deed /Memorandum of Association/ Certificate of Incorporation / Articles of Association
  • A list of “Manufacture or processed or stored” food products.
  • Food safety management system plan
  • Signed and Completed Form-B

Procedure for Food License Registration

  • Initially, Form A has to be submitted to the food and safety department.
  • Your application may be selected or rejected by the department within 15 days from the application date.
  • The final approval or the issuance of license can take between “1-6 months”, based on the department’s processing speed or the application availability.
  • If the application is accepted, you will be granted a registration certificate along with a registration number and a photo by the department.
  • Now, every FBO must prominently display the Food registration at the place of business during the working hours.

Benefits of Food License Registration

Getting an Food license for your business may prove to be beneficial and not a burden. Here’s how:

    1. Consumer awareness: The consumers, nowadays, have become more alert and informative about the quality of the food which they consume. With the increase in food options available for healthy eating, consumers are curious to know as to the contents of what they are taking in. Whether it is safe and of really good quality? Moreover, with the recent controversies of some high-class brands producing and delivering tainted and sub-standard food products, has made the consumers to take the food safety aspect seriously. Thus, FBOs with the Food License get an added advantage of a solid and increased customer base.
    2. Legal Advantage:In case you feel that getting an Food registration is expensive, time-consuming and inconvenient. That it is only a document. And if you are trying to avoid the aspect of getting a license. Then you must look closely and you’ll realize that the process is not so cumbersome. As compared to the penalties that can get imposed upon, this expense is actually very small. The actual cost to obtain the license is much less. Besides, there is help available, via the consultancies that provide professional help. Therefore, it is advisable to get the license before you officially open your business.
    3. Food Logo:Upon getting the license, you can put the Food logo to use. You can advertise and publicize the superior quality of your food over others. This gives you an edge over those FBOs operating which are operating without a license. The logo is a mark of validity and also provides assurance to your consumers. Selective and aware customers want to purchase only those food items that have the Food logo. It develops goodwill and brand name for your business.
    4. Business Expansion:A Food Registration will help you at the time of business expansion into other areas or outlets. The Goodwill and the qualification of the Food Safety Management Systems will make it easier and effortless to expand. Moreover, the license facilitates the process of applying for and getting bank loans that are essential to spread your business.

Food License Number

All those “Food Business Operators (FBOs)” which are registered with the Food have been provided with an exclusive 14-Digit registration number. It is mandatory to get this printed on every packaging of the food item, along with the Food Logo. Restaurants and Eateries are required to put this Food Certificate on display at a prominent place, during all business hours. It demonstrates to the customers that the business has gone through different safety checks under the Act, and it also ensures them that the food which they are having, is safe to consume.

Furthermore, all the e-commerce operators involved in the business of Aggregation and Delivery of Food, have to display the Food License number of the restaurant or eatery they are delivering for, on their App. Leading examples of such Apps are Swiggy and Zomato. Failing to provide them with this Food Registration number will lead to your restaurant business being de-listed from the App. Separately, these apps have been also instructed by the Food, to provide the restaurant with a hygiene rating.

Food License Renewal

Once you have received your Food Registration, please note that the period for it’s validity is anywhere from 1 year to 5 years, as per the application filed. So if there arises a need for getting a renewal for your registration. This must be done at least 30 days before it’s validity expires. Below is the process involved:


  • Form # A or B, as required,
  • Declaration by the Proprietor or Director, that they will comply with the updated Rules and Regulations under Food,
  • Photo ID proof of the Proprietor or Director,


Food officials will verify the details provided in the application form. They might even visit and conduct an inspection of the premises and/or examine the machinery & equipment. They’ll check the working status and validity of the Food Safety Management System, and ensure that it hasn’t become obsolete. They will inspect that the documents and details provided in the form are authentic.

Renewal of your Food License

If the Food officials are satisfied with their inspections. And the guidelines of the Food are being followed. Your Food License will get renewed. Again, the maximum period it would be valid for is 5 years.

Important Notes

  1. Food License or Restaurant License is a statutory legality that is mandatory for all FBOs.
  2. The Name mentioned in the Application Form (A or B) will be the name in the Food License. So make sure it is correctly spelled.
  3. You will receive the communication on the mobile number and E-mail Id filled in the Form, so take care that these are active.
  4. After submission of the application, a unique reference ID will be generated. This ID will be used in all further processes for obtaining the food license.
  5. If the operations of the FBO, e.g. a restaurant has decided to expand it’s operations beyond one state, then a Central Food license has to be procured for the main Branch/Head Office. And a State License for each branch.
  6. A single unit needs to get a single Food License only. Whether it is handling/producing different varieties or various processes. Just make sure that the Form (A or B) mentions all the Food Items and the Processes.
  7. A Central License has to be obtained by importers on their Import Export Code (IEC) address.
  8. You need to pay the Fees, as prescribed.


All Food Business Operators have to comply with the laid down rules and regulations under the Food Act. These are statutory requirements. And Food may conduct random checks or tests of the product or the process. This Food Safety Official, generally, inspects the facility, safety as well as the quality of the food product or process. He has the authority to check the working conditions along with the food handling techniques of the operators or employees.

Thereafter, he ascertains that whether the business is compliant or not with the regulations as set by the Food Authority, using a checklist. Based on the checklist, the Official marks the “FBO” accordingly as:

  • Compliance (C)
  • Partial compliance (PC)
  • Non-compliance (NC)
  • Not applicable/Not observed (NA)

Additionally, the Official might issue an Improvement Notice, suggesting the areas that need rectification. If the FBO fails to conform to these, the Official sends a Show Cause Notice.

This Notice mentions a date of hearing by when the FBO has to prove, with the support of documentary evidence, as to why it could not undertake the amendments. In case the proofs are rejected, or the FBO fails to respond to the Improvement Notice, within the stipulated time, the Official may cancel it’s License.

The aggrieved FBO has the option to file an Appeal with the State Commissioner for Food Safety.

The decision, by the State Commissioner, thereon can be challenged by appealing to the Food Safety Appellate Tribunal or the high court.

The Penalty of Non-Compliance

If found Non-Compliant, the FBO will face certain penalties. Whether it is a private or a public entity. Food penalty structure is uniform for all of them. Below is a List of Food penalties for an FBO that doesn’t conform to the rules and regulations:

  • If the FBO is operating an establishment without acquiring an Food license, the act is punishable under law. The FBO may face imprisonment and a penalty up to Rs.5 lakh for the same.
  • If the business is selling “sub-standard quality food items”, then the FBO may be charged an amount which can go up to Rs.5 lakhs. In such a case, any person selling the sub-standard goods, either himself or by a person working on his behalf, would be held accountable.
  • A person or an FBO selling misbranded goods, either himself or by a person working on his behalf, may have to pay a penalty of up to Rs.3 lakh.
  • All the FBOs involved in sales, storage, distributions or importing of Food Articles containing superfluous or extraneous matter, are liable for a penalty amount of Rs.1 lakh.

The penalty amount mentioned in the above points may vary, depending upon the circumstances. An extreme case, where death occurs due to consumption of the particular Food Article, the punishment may increase to Rs.5 lakh or even imprisonment, depending upon the intensity of the harm caused.

Food License Renewal

The validity of the Food License issued by Food, is of 1 year and can be extended to a maximum of 5 years. Once the validity of the license has expired, the Food Business Operator(FBO) is obligated and eligible for a food license renewal. The Food renewal procedure is simple and should be done as soon as possible to avoid being penalized. As per the guidelines issued by Food, the food safety registration has to be renewed 30 days before the expiry of the current Food license. At “Food Food License”, we help FBOs with “Food online registration” as well as with the Food renewal procedure.

Consequences of Non-renewal of Food License

The Food online registration of the food business, is mandatory under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. Food has requested that all FBOs should apply for renewal within 30 days before the current license expires.
If in case, the application for the renewal of the license isn’t submitted within the stipulated time, then the Food Business will be charged a penalty of ₹100 per day when they fail to apply for the same. In addition to this, Food might also decide to deem the license as expired and the FBO might have to apply for a fresh license. Not only does this tarnish your reputation as a Businessman in the eyes of the law, but it will also cost your business much more to apply for a new license as compared to filing for renewal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which businesses need to apply for a “Food license”?
Which kind of Food registration do I need to apply for? State or Central?
What if my business is spread in more than one State?
I am producing from one address only. How many applications do I need to fill?
Does water sold in packaged bottles come under Food?
Does Food have any microbiological guidelines for food in India?
What are energy drinks, functional foods products, food supplements, and/or nutraceuticals? Are those covered under Food as well?
What is Restaurant License?
Can a caterer start the business with a Basic Food Number?
What are the Levels of Compliance for Food?
What happens with the FBOs found to be Non-Compliant?
Who gets an Improvement Notice for Food Registration?
What if the Improvement or Suspension Notice is biased and incorrect?
What is a food recall?
What is HACCP?
Who can use HACCP?
How does HACCP work?
What is the maximum penalty for breach of regulations linked to the labeling of food articles
How do I get my Food license renewed?
What are the rules about Food annual return?
What is Food Safety Management Systems?
Who conducts checks or inspections, before or after the certification?
How many times the premises would be examined in a year?
Is Food License required for importer & exporters?