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What is the Difference between FSSAI and AGMARK?

Narendra Kumar

| Updated: May 30, 2017 | Category: FSSAI Food License


Many of us have heard about FSSAI and AGMARK and consider both in interchangeable terms. It is very important to know about these certifications and their implications as a consumer. Here we will bring you some basic information about both FSSAI certification and how they differ from each other. In this article, We will discuss the difference between FSSAI and AGMARK.

What is the Significance of FSSAI?

In the year 2011, FSSAI was created as a unified certification meant for the regulation of food quality and safety. A few decades back, there were a lot of laws and acts regulating food safety. Some of the major laws that existed during those times were Vegetable Oil Products Order 1947, Food Adulteration Act 1954, Meat Products Order 1973, Fruit Products Order 1955 and Milk Products Order 1992. All these acts and orders have been made redundant with a single FSSAI Certification, which speaks volumes about the significance of this certification.

Today, any person involved in the manufacture, storage, distribution, importation, and sale of food needs to acquire an FSSAI Certification.

What is the Significance of AGMARK?

Agricultural Mark or AGMARK Certification is issued by Directorate of Marketing and Inspection for agricultural produce. This Certification was issued in order to make sure that the Agricultural Produce Grading and Marking Act 1937, 1986 was implemented properly. It can be understood in a very simple manner. The seller, who is selling fruits, rice, milk, pulses, etc., needs to acquire an AGMARK Certification, which denotes that the limit of pesticides in these products is well within stipulated or prescribed limit.

It is basically a seal of quality which is given only after checking the quality of the products. Conversely, FSSAI License not only covers the manufacturing but the quality, safety, packaging, and sale of all food items.

In India, there are many other “Mark” certifications that are given for a variety of products:

FPO – for processed food products

ISI Mark – for industrial products

NPV – non-polluting vehicle (Bharat Stage standards)

AgMark – for agricultural produce

BIS Hall Mark – for gold jewelry

Eco-Label – for eco-friendly products

India Organic – for organically grown food

Difference between FSSAI and AGMARK

In India, there is no dearth of product certifications that are given on a wide-ranging list of products. There are many Acts that have been made by the Indian Parliament, which is legally binding on the business owners. One cannot undermine the importance of food laws and acts, and the reason why they are one of the most scrutinized laws in the country. These acts help to ensure the safety and health of the consumers by ensuring the quality of food and food products. FSSAI and AGMARK license are the two major certifications.

Some Facts about These Certifications

As most of the people believe, these are not two similar certifications and differ in a variety of details.

  1. The major difference between the two certifications is that AGMARK is a mark rendered to the agricultural products in compliance with the Agricultural Products Act, 1986. Conversely, FSSAI is basically an agency that comes under the purview of Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
  2. AGMARK is meant only for the agricultural-based products assuring their quality under the Directorate of Marketing & Inspection, Government of India wherein it acts as a Certifying Agency to certify if the product conforms to the quality standards. FSSAI, on the other hand, works as a regulatory and supervising agency that regulates food businesses and their functions and operations in India. It also works by monitoring and promoting public health. This is ensured by making all food business distributors, operators, storage houses, and retailers acquire an FSSAI license mandatorily.
  3. AGMARK came into existence as per the Agriculture Produce (Grading and Marking) Act of India, 1937 which was later amended in the year 1986. FSSAI came into existence under the Food Safety and Standard Act, 2006.
  4. The quality guidelines of more than 200 agricultural products are covered under AGMARK that includes pulses, rice, fresh fruits, and more. Agricultural policies are implemented by the Department of Agriculture & Co-operation. This department is a part of the Directorate of Marketing & Inspection. It also trains people in the field of agriculture, promotes excellent storage practices, implements agricultural reforms, and makes people aware of them. FSSAI, on the other hand, implements scientifically derived standards for a variety of food products. This agency also oversees storing, manufacturing, distributing, warehousing, and developing sanitary standards conditions. It works to make the consumer aware of these standards. Thus, in simple words, FSSAI is a government agency while AGMARK is a certification mark.

FSSAI License or Food License

Under the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), a variety of acts and orders pertaining to the food-related issues have been consolidated under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006. The objective behind the establishment of FSSAI was to set standards for different food articles and regulate their storage, manufacture, sale, distribution, and import. By doing this, the agency ensures wholesome and safe availability of food for human consumption.

FSSAI Performs Several Functions, Some of them are:

  1. Creating a framework of regulations so as to strictly lay down the guidelines and standards pertaining to food products.
  2. Enforce various standards as per an appropriate system. Granting FSSAI Registration / FSSAI License under the act.
  3. Framing guidelines and mechanisms for certification accreditation bodies who are responsible for the management of food safety for the food businesses.
  4. Laying down procedure and guidelines for accreditation of laboratories and notification of the accredited laboratories.
  5. To provide scientific advice and technical support to Central Government and State Governments in the matters of framing the policy and rules in areas which have a direct or indirect bearing on food safety and nutrition.
  6. To collect and collate data regarding food consumption, incidence, and prevalence of biological risk, contaminants in food, residues of various, contaminants in foods products, identification of emerging risks and an introduction of the rapid alert system.
  7. Creating an information network across the country so that the public, consumers, Panchayats, etc receive rapid, reliable and objective information about food safety and issues of concern.
  8. To provide training programs for persons who are involved or intend to get involved in food businesses.
  9. To contribute to the development of international technical standards for food, sanitary and photo-sanitary standards.
  10. To promote general awareness about food safety and food standards.


The Directorate of Marketing and Inspection enforces the Agricultural Produce (Grading and Marketing) Act, 1937. Under this Act, grade standards are prescribed for agriculture.

AGMARK is a Quality Certification Mark. It ensures the quality and purity of a product. It acts as a Third Party Guarantee to Quality Certified.

Quality standards for agricultural commodities are framed based on their intrinsic quality. Food safety factors are being incorporated into the standards to compete in world trade.

Standards are being harmonized with international standards, keeping in view the WTO requirements. Certification of agricultural commodities is carried out for the benefit of the producer/manufacturer and the consumer.

Products available under AGMARK are as follows:

  1. Pulses
  2. Whole spices & ground spices
  3. Vegetable oils
  4. Wheat Products
  5. Milk products
  6. Other products such as Honey, Compounded, Rice, Tapioca Sago, Seedless Tamarind, Besan (Gram flour).

Also, Read: Food Hygiene Guidelines for Food Delivery Businesses

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Narendra Kumar

Experienced Finance and Legal Professional with 12+ Years of Experience in Legal, Finance, Fintech, Blockchain, and Revenue Management.

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