Are You a Home Chef Selling Without Registration? You May Be Fined Upto Rs 5 Lakh

As per the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) rules, it is mandatory for food-related businesses, however small, to apply for a license or registration.

One of the positives of the pandemic induced lockdown has been the discovery and birth of various home-chefs and home-bakers.

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this article listed the fees as Rs 4500. It costs Rs 100 to register and Rs 7500 to get the license. The article has been updated. The error is regretted.

Chances are that you have ordered from one of them atleast once during this period. But did you know that all homemade food selling operators are required to register with the FSSAI before the start of their business?

Have you ever checked with the places you order from whether they have this registration and license?

A news report which appeared in newspapers last week put many homemade food selling operators in a tight spot. As the reports, non-compliance with the regulations attracts a fine of up to Rs 5 Lakh or life-term imprisonment, based on the gravity of issue.

While the law has been in force since 5 August 2011, it is only now, during the COVID-19 pandemic that this has come to general light. Homemade food selling operators who have an annual turnover of under Rs 12 Lakh are required to mandatorily register themselves, those above the Rs 12 Lakh limit need to apply for a license.

Is FSSAI license mandatory for homemade food selling operators?

No, the law mandates FSSAI registration be done for all homemade food selling operators. However, a license is required only when the annual turnover is above Rs 12 Lakh. Not having registered will mean that you will not be able to sell your products online through any delivery app, and could also lead to a ban from the FSSAI.

Having the FSSAI registration/license also assures the customers that the products and goods that you are selling are of good quality.

Things to know:

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• Registration is mandatory for all homemade food selling operators. License is required only if your annual turnover is above Rs 12 Lakh.
• Even in obtaining the license, there are various categories. If the annual turnover is above Rs 12 Lakh and below Rs 20 Crore, then the license is to be obtained from the State FSSAI department and if the turnover is above Rs 20 Crore, then one needs to get the license from the Central FSSAI agency.
• Once you have registered, the registration license is valid only in the state where you applied for the license and not in any other state.
• The FSSAI registration is available for 1 to 5 years, and you can choose to renew after that period.
• Homemade food selling operators need to apply for a renewal 30 days prior to the expiry of the registration.
• A late fee of Rs 100 per day will be levied if the registration renewal is delayed, so do keep track of when you need to apply.
• A homemade food selling operator who is functioning without registration will be liable for a penalty of upto Rs 2 Lakh according to the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006.

How to register/obtain a license?

1. Click here to access the website for registration.
2. Fill in the form with all requisite details.
3. You will be required to e-mail all the documents to FSSAI, following which, the registration form will be completed within two days.
4. Once the documents are verified and submitted, it will further take 10 days for the license/registration to be completed.
5. The registration fees is Rs 100 and the license fee is Rs 7500.

What should homemade food selling operators be cognizant of?

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• Keep the premise where the food is being prepared clean at all times.
• There must be adequate lighting, ventilation and regular disinfection processes are followed.
• There must be potable water available continuously.
• All process must be followed to keep the tools being used in the kitchen free of any dirt, bacteria build-up. All precautions must be taken to ensure that the equipment used is cleaned thoroughly.
• The workers must be provided with hand gloves, head wears, and clean aprons. Personal hygiene must be emphasised on.

What can you do?

• Always ask for the registration details before you place an order with a home-chef or baker.
• If you are not satisfied with the answer that you get, you can always do a quick online check to verify the registration details. You can click here to do the same.
• You can also lodge a complaint with FSSAI by calling 1800-112-100, a dedicated helpline number to resolve issues pertaining to food quality adherence and adulteration.

For more details, you can click here.

(Edited by Vinayak Hegde)