WHAT EXACTLY IS THE FSSAI?
Food Safety and Standards Authority of India is an autonomous body established under the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, under the Government of India. It is headed by a non-executive Chairperson, appointed by the Central Government, either holding or has held the position of not below the rank of Secretary to the Government of India. Being in charge of the entire country, they have their main office in Delhi. They also have smaller regional offices across the country, like in Delhi, Guwahati, Mumbai, Kolkata, Cochin, and Chennai.
Each Indian state has its own State FSSA under the Act. Every FSSAI registration and State FSSAI license are issued by the state FSSA in which business operations are set up. The central FSSAI license is issued by the main FSSA authority.
What are the roles and responsibilities of the FSSAI?
They handle a lot of smaller tasks throughout the country, but their most significant roles are:
1. Framing of Regulations to lay down food safety standards.
2. Laying down guidelines for accreditation of laboratories for food testing.
3. Providing scientific advice and technical support to the Central Government.
4. Contributing to the development of international technical standards in food.
5. Collecting and collating data regarding food consumption, contamination, emerging risks etc.
6. Disseminating information and promoting awareness about food safety and nutrition in India.
What constitutes an eating house?
Any permanent or temporary establishment that sells food can be termed as an eating house. These could be shops, restaurants, dhabas, food trucks, street food shops, bars, clubs and the likes. Additionally, food or refreshments of any kind, not including spirits, wines, beer, or other forms of malt liquors are sold for consumption. If liquors are being served or sold, the procedures change significantly since there are additional licences and liquor permits that are needed.
What is an eating house licence?
For any of the above-mentioned establishments to legally run and operate, they would need to apply for a licence and permit. This is a mandatory requirement and not something that they can choose to apply for. Made compulsory through the Delhi Police Act, if places are trying to function without the necessary paperwork, they could find themselves shut down permanently, their equipment confiscated and massive fines imposed. These licences have to be applied for under the state of city headquarters. The registration authority concerning Eating House Licenses is the Commissioner of Police and would have to handle this in their respective state.