FSSAI has made it mandatory for food business operators (FBOs) in the country to mention their FSSAI license or registration number on receipts, invoices, or bills on the sale of food products with effect from 1 October 2021. This move would enable consumers to access information about a particular food business that is publically available on FSSAI’s portal or the Food Safety Connect app.
FSSAI's move would also ease consumers’ effort in registering a complaint about a restaurant which otherwise is difficult in the absence of the license number on the bill or cash memo. The order reads, “The food business ecosystem is large, and the FSSAI number of any food business operator is not easily visible and available to the consumer. Any credible regulatory structure depends upon a robust customer grievance system wherein service or product recipients can complain about redressal. However, if the FSSAI number is unavailable to him, expecting him to complain with complete coordinates is an uphill task. Even regulators find it difficult to trace the origin of the complaint and attend to it promptly with the approximate address. No database can be created without a unique locator code, which in the case of food safety is the FSSAI number.”
Presently, FSSAI number is compulsory to be displayed on packaged food labels. Still, the issue lies primarily in the case of establishments such as restaurants, mithai shops, caterers, even retail stores, and others. Therefore, with the approval of the food authority, it has been decided to mandate the declaration of a 14-digit FSSAI license or registration number on cash receipts, purchase invoices, bills, and others by all food businesses. The only exemption is the GST eWay bill and other govt documents that are system generated.
Mentioning of FSSAI number shall also improve overall awareness of FSSAI. Moreover, the absence of a license number on the bill will indicate non-compliance or non-registration by the food business.
Even in pre-packaged foods where the FSSAI’s number is printed on the pack, there is a deficit of track and trace mechanism whereby the path of the package from the manufacturer to the consumer can be traced. The invoice helps to establish this trail. Therefore, mentioning the FSSAI number will help in improving the traceability of the food product.