The move would enable consumers to have access to information about a particular food business available on FSSAI’s portal or the Food Safety Connect app.
India’s food safety regulator Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has made it mandatory for food business operators in the country, which are largely micro, small, and mid-sized enterprises, to mention their FSSAI license or registration number on receipts, invoices or bills on sale of products with effect from October 1, 2021. An order released by the regulator said,” Presently, FSSAI number is compulsory to be displayed on packaged food labels but the issue lies especially in case of establishments such as restaurants, mithai shops, caterers, even retail stores, etc.” The move would enable consumers to have access to information about a particular food business available on FSSAI’s portal or the Food Safety Connect app.
“Fundamentally FSSAI is dealing with hygiene and it is trying to make sure that eateries are having the license as today simply anyone can come up with a food restaurant easily. But customers need to know that proper protocols are being followed or not. So FSSAI is trying to formulate that. Basically smaller operators are being asked for correct protocols as maximum eateries are unorganised in India,” Kabir Suri, Co-founder and Director, Azure Hospitality and Vice President, National Restaurant Association of India (NRAI) told Financial Express Online.
The move would also ease consumers’ effort in registering a complaint about a restaurant which otherwise is difficult in absence of the license number on the bill or cash memo. “FSSAI number of any food business operator is not easily visible and available to consumer/service recipient…if the FSSAI number is not available to him, expecting him to complain with complete coordinates is an uphill task. Even regulators find it difficult to trace the origin of complaint and attend to it promptly with approximate addresses,” the order read.
Moreover, the absence of a license number on the bill will indicate non-compliance or non-registration by the food business. “It is a welcome move as a very large part of the restaurant sector including those selling food online operate without a license. Consumers can now see whether the food business operator is licensed or not. This otherwise has been a problem as there are many operating without licenses and are causing a challenge to the organised sector with reduced prices of products and lower costs. This didn’t provide a level playing field,” Pradeep Shetty, Director, Maharaja Foods & Restaurants and Joint Secretary, Federation of Hotel & Restaurant Associations of India told Financial Express Online.