The World Health Organization (WHO) defines food hygiene as all the immediate measures that can be taken to ensure the safety, health, and purity of food from primary production to consumption, i.e. from field to fork.
The European Parliament and the Council emphasize in their Regulation (EC) No 852/2004 on the hygiene of foodstuffs that food hygiene refers to all the measures and conditions necessary to control food hazards and to ensure that foodstuffs are fit for human consumption.
The main objective of food hygiene is
- to protect the consumer against the health and economic risks posed by foodstuffs unfit for human consumption.
In addition, food hygiene seeks to prevent
- premature food contamination and the resulting financial losses for both the producer and the consumer.
Expertise in food hygiene is important because for example most of the food poisoning cases is precisely due to neglect of hygienic working practices.