Home based food business owners may face penalty of Rs 5 Lakhs for not having FSSAI Registration
Bengaluru: There was a huge surge in food enthusiasts opening up their own food businesses during the lockdown. Officials at Food Safety, Karnataka said that they had received over 20,000 registrations in the past year in comparison to 2300 in March 2020. However, many of these businesses are not registered under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
They added, “Bangalore is densely populated, and the number of food businesses are growing every day. But not all of them are registered.”
As per Section 31(1) and 31(2) of FSS Act, 2006 every food business operator is required to be licensed or registered under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India. For small scale businesses with annual turnover of less than Rs 12 lakh, a registration is mandatory. For the ones with an annual turnover of over 12 lakh need to have a FSSAI license.
Most customers said that they don’t take this aspect into consideration while ordering from home based kitchens. Neeta RG, a customer who regularly orders from a home based kitchen said, “Honestly, I’ve never given this a thought. This food reminds me of my food at home, it’s simple and delicious. Also, this is cost effective and made with fresh produce.”
Home kitchen owners and bakers said that they too were unaware of the rules and regulations. Food Aggregators also added how social media played a role in creating more confusion. “There has been a lot of miscommunication circulating in social media. So, the execution of the process was not how it should’ve been.”
Anurita, a home kitchen owner, said that most of her customers Dunzo the food or her son personally delivers. She operates from her kitchen at home and was unaware that she required the registration for this purpose. Most newly opened kitchen owners started this business as a hobby during the lockdown and became aware of these rules when they took it up more commercially.
Kalyan Gopalkrishna, a food expert with 20 years of experience in the Food and Beverage Industry said that one cannot ignore this responsibility. “There are many who are unregistered but that’s unethical. You need to be accountable and follow the rules by FSSAI.”
Citing hygiene to be the most important criteria for a food business, Dr. Harishwara C.E., Deputy Commissioner (Squad) of Food Safety, Karnataka said, “Problems occur when we receive complaints from the public. If something goes wrong it is a threat to life.”
FSSAI plan to start programs through mainstream media and social media to spread awareness. However, they emphasized that it isn’t legal to run a food business without a registration.