How to import food products in India

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is the chief governing body which is responsible for all the matters related to India’s Export-Import policy ( EXIM). The first thing for businesses is to know that the Import of Food Products in India or the Export of Food Products from India is regulated by the chief governing body that is referred to as the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India( FSSAI Registration). There is an extensive list of documents required to import food products in the country .

FSSAI will reject the shipment of food products which do not meet the standards set by them. Thus, the entrepreneurs who Import Food Products in India should be well aware of the various notifications and the procedures that are related to the import of food product.  . Import of food products in India can be a taxing procedure check out Issues with testing food imports in India.

There are however a number of licenses and registrations which business owner has to obtain before starting an import business.

The following is a list of the licenses and the registrations that are required for importing of the  food items in India:

  1. Registering your company: It is thus beneficial to have a registered company under which you can start your business. It helps to improve the transferability of the business and also limits the personal liability.
  1. VAT: Registering for VAT is a  mandatory requirement for the sale of goods. and products in India.
  1. Import Export Code: Obtain the Import Export Code from the DGFT for the purpose of import and export of goods.
  1. Approval of Product from FSSAI:  Authorities will not approve the import products which do not conform to the food standards set by the food safety and security act.
  1. Bill of Entry: Every importer should submit a Bill of Entry(Section 46). This is a document which certifies the description and the value of goods coming in the country. Submit the Bill of Entry as follows: a) The original and the duplicate for customs, importers,  banks, for making remittances.
  2. FSSAI Clearance: File an application with Food Import Clearance System(FICS) of the FSSAI in order to obtain NOC(No Objection Certificate)

A business owner should upload the following documents to import food products for FSSAI clearance:

  1. The Import Export Code which is  issued by the DGFT
  2. The FSSAI Food License
  3. The Bill of Entry
  4.  EDI system of Customs generates the examination order, therein requiring NOC from the FSSAI.

In addition to the above documents, the following documents required to Import food products which are subject to specific cases:

  1. Import Permit– It is a document which is issued by the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India ( in case of primary agricultural produce/ horticulture produce).
  2. Sanitary Import Permit– It is also a document which is issued by the Department of Animal Husbandry, Government of India ( in case of livestock produce)
  3. Registration of import contracts– It is also  required in case of poppy seeds and it is registered with the Central Bureau of Narcotics, Gwalior
  4. Certification of Origin– It should, however, contain the information on the Country of Origin etc IF the consignor (seller) is from another country.
  5. Certificate of Analysis with composition (Ingredients): – These are often the  Test Certificate in case of Wine & Whiskey
  6. End-use declaration – The Food Importer also has to clearly state the end use of the imported food product.
  7. Pumping Guarantee Certificate – This is in case of edible oil import in bulk;
  8. List of transit country– Produce this certificate if shipment is coming from through more than one country
  9. Bill of Lading -This is a Bill of Entry (BoE)  for sea shipment. This is amongst the important Documents required to Import food products.
  10. Air Way Bill-   Air shipments require a Bill of Entry(BoE).

Opening a Food Joint? You should probably check out FSSAI food license requirement For All Food Joints.

Business owners should also consider the requirement of labeling of foods imported into India

Compliances and Registration causing you trouble?  Hit us up at [email protected] and let us help you start your food-joint with ease and simplicity.