Do I Need a License to Sell Homemade Food?

by | Jan 21, 2023

India’s food sector has seen tremendous growth in the last few years. Many more people are using online portals like Mealawe to order food anytime, anywhere. You may have seen food trucks or food stalls when you visit fairs.

If you’ve seen people selling food online and are tempted to do the same, you may have some questions. You may wonder – Do I need any license to sell homemade food? How much does a food license cost?

Read on as we answer these questions about selling homemade food.

Which license do I need to sell homemade food?

Though homemade food businesses encounter fewer compliance issues than a full-fledged setup, an FSSAI food license is essential to run any food business in India. Obtaining this license is critical to an F&B operation making less than Rs 12 Lakh annual turnover.

What other licenses do I need to run a homemade food business?

Other than the FSSAI license, if you are planning to do homemade food business in a bigger scale, then you may also need these licenses –

Shops and Establishment license

If you employ more than ten people for your business, you are required to register under the Shops and Establishment Act of the state where you are running the business.

Health trade license

Since the food you make at home directly impacts the consumers’ health, your homemade food business requires a health trade license. This health license is given by the Municipal Corporation or the state’s health department.

Environmental clearance

Homemade food cooking may lead to smoke emissions, and how you dispose of the food waste can also have an environmental impact. So you need an environmental clearance license from the Pollution Board of your state.

Signage license

You need a signage license from your local Municipal body before you put any board or banner to promote your business. If you are thinking of starting a Dabba business, you will need this license before you put any sticker or label of your business on your dabbas.

NOC from your society

Before you start any business from your home, you need a no-objection certificate from your resident’s welfare society. The nearby residents may raise objections if you do not take this NOC.

Note – You only require FSSAI license if your turnover is less than Rs. 12 Lakhs

How can I register for an FSSAI license for a homemade food business?

Open FSSAI’s online portal, FosCos, and create an account with them. Once you have created the account, navigate to the left section of the home page and select ‘New application’ from the drop-down menu.

You need to fill out application form A or form B, depending on the turnover of your business. Form A is for businesses with a turnover of less than 12 Lakhs, and form B is for those food businesses with a turnover of more than 12 Lakhs.

After you have filled up the FSSAI form with the necessary personal and business details, you will have to submit the following documents –

  • 2 Passport Size Photograph
  • PAN Card of the Food Business Operator
  • Proof of ownership of the Premises
  • Partnership Deed
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • List of food items the unit will process
  • Declaration Form
  • Authority letter
  • Form IX

Once you have completed the filing procedure, the FSSAI officials will proceed with the verification process. An officer may also visit your place of business and verify before you are issued the license.

What is the validity of the FSSAI license?

The FSSAI license is valid for one to five years. As a homemade food seller, you need to apply for the renewal of your license 30 days before the date of expiry of your license. You have to pay a penalty of Rs. 100 per day if you apply after your license has expired.

What happens if I sell homemade food without a license?

According to the State Food Safety Department, any unregistered domestic food-selling business may pay a fine of up to Rs 5 lakh and be imprisoned for up to 6 months.

Some other penalties include –

  • Any food business selling bad quality items can be fined up to Rs. 5 lakhs.
  • Any food business selling misbranded products will be fined up to Rs. 3 lakhs.
  • Any food business selling items containing any exotic substance will be fined Rs. 1 lakh.
  • If there is a death due to the consumption of a food item, then the food business operator is held responsible. Depending on the severity, the business owner can be fined up to Rs. 5 lakh or even imprisonment.

Final thoughts

While selling homemade food is a lucrative business, you do need to follow specific regulations and obtain the required licenses. Once these procedures are over and you comply with all the regulations, the sky is the limit for your business.

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