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How to Import Food Products into India?

Ashish M. Shaji

| Updated: Jun 11, 2017 | Category: FSSAI Food License

Import Food Products

The Indian market is the fastest growing and most flourishing business in food products. Now, anyone can easily experience the taste of food and beverages of any nation in our local market. Since India has always been a kingdom of food, people are now appreciating and adopting the taste of other countries. In this article, we will discuss how to import food products in India.

Do I need FSSAI Central License for importing food products in India?

To promote food businesses, many importers are now getting food products from other countries to fulfil the requirements of the Indian consumers. Though this business seems attractive and interesting, there are various guidelines that need to be clearly understood by importers.

  • The very first and most striking query for them is if FSSAI License required for importers. The government has already implement IE (Import Export) Code issued by DGFT (Directorate General of Foreign Trade) for importing/exporting any products.
  • However, in addition to that, an FSSAI license is also mandatory for the food business importer. The process for applying for FSSAI import license is very simple.
  • The government fee for Central License is Rs.7,500 for one year and one can opt for maximum 5 years of the validity period. It’s really important to follow all the government standards to become an authorized importer.

How Can I Import Food Products?

  • In Order to import food products in India, you need to obtain Import Export Code. The government has defined a certain regulation for importing food products from other countries to gauge its quality for consumption in an Indian market.
  • After possession of IE Code and an FSSAI License, a food business operator gets authorized to import products. But, the final possession of the products is offered only after getting a clearance certificate (NOC) from FSSAI.
  • After an application is created in Food Import Clearance System, the FSSAI officer shall inspect all documents. Also the officer shall visually inspect the consignment.
  • If the food consignment is found to be in accordance to the FSSAI regulations then the FSSAI officer shall issue an NOC. The food product then will be cleared for import to India.

FSSAI has made the procedure very operator friendly by allowing them to complete these tasks through an online portal. Under the Food Import Clearance System (FICS), an importer can get the ‘No Objection Certificate’ and can also apply for clearance of consignments from FSSAI. Failing on any parameter may lead to the rejection of a shipment.

Importers can register themselves on https://ics.fssai.gov.in and can apply for NOC and Clearance of consignments.

Documents Required for FSSAI License for an Importer

It is highly advisable for importers to carry six most important documents ready for their business.

  1. Narcotics Certificate
  2. Product Approval Certificate
  3. IE Code License
  4. FSSAI License
  5. Ministry of Agriculture Permit
  6. Ministry of Animal Husbandry Permit

Additional Documents for NOC

  1. Specimen Copy of Level
  2. Ingredients details
  3. End Usage Declaration

The importer can also apply for temporary product approval if the product’s Harmonized System (HS) Code is not in the database. Moreover, an FSSAI License for the importer has made the system hassle-free to make the process simpler for importers

The above documents might be required to be uploaded to the above portal while applying for NOC or to get consignment clearance. The whole process is well-defined to make sure that all food products are being verified and inspected before arriving in an Indian bazaar.

When can a food article is restricted to be imported into India?

A person won’t be allowed to import food article that is unsafe or misbranded or substandard or if it contains any extraneous matter. No one can import food article that is in contravention of any provision of Food Safety and Standards Act or any of its rules or regulations.

Which type of food product import doesn’t require the approval from FSSAI?

The following types of food product import don’t need approval from FSSAI:

  • Export rejected or re-imported food for re-export;
  • Food imported by diplomatic missions;
  • Food imported for quality assurance, research and development;
  • Food imported for exhibition and tasting purposes, subject to certain conditions;
  • Food received during disaster or emergency situations;
  • Food imported for sports events, subject to conditions.

Conclusion

Entrepreneurs or businesses that import food products to India must be aware of these guidelines and regulations pertaining to food product import. Compliance to these is must else they would be penalized.

Read our article: Sweet Sellers to mention ‘Best Before’ and ‘Manufacturing Date’ from June 1, 2020

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Ashish M. Shaji

Ashish M. Shaji has done his graduation in law (BA. LLB) from CCS University. He has keen interests in doing extensive research and writing on legal subjects especially on criminal and corporate law. He is a creative thinker and has a great interest in exploring legal subjects.

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