Who is required to have a Hygiene Passport?

An employee must have a hygiene passport if they

  • work on food premises and
  • handle unpackaged perishable foods.

For example such groups as employers, volunteers, students or trainees must also have Hygiene Passports if they work with unpackaged foods on food premises.

Food premises include for example:

  1. cafés, restaurants and fast food restaurants
  2. food stores (shops that sell foodstuffs)
  3. institutional kitchens, bakeries and factories that produce foodstuffs.

Perishable foods include for example milk, meat, fish and chopped vegetables.

The Finnish Food Authority has compiled a table with examples of tasks in which the employee needs a Hygiene Passport. The table also shows examples of tasks where no Hygiene Passport is needed.

An employee must obtain a Hygiene Passport at the latest three months after starting work in which a Hygiene Passport is required. 

Any previous jobs in the food sector in which a Hygiene Passport is required are also included retrospectively in this three-month period.  

  • For example, if such work has consisted of very short periods, all these periods are added up.
  • If the total length of these work periods is less than three months, the employee does not need a Hygiene Passport yet. This means that an employee can work on food premises for three months without a Hygiene Passport even if they handle unpackaged perishable foodstuffs. 

Under food legislation, an employee working on food premises must have food hygiene proficiency. This means that they must be able to work hygienically in their tasks. It is the employer’s duty to guide and advise all employees about food hygiene, and provide training for them if necessary. 

The employer is responsible for ensuring that all employees who require a Hygiene Passport have it. A food business operator can contact the food control authority in their municipality for more information.

Examples of Hygiene Passport requirements in different sectors

Is a person working at the check-out in a food store required to have a Hygiene Passport?

  • No, if they only work at the cash register.
  • Yes, if, for example, they also work in tasks that include handling unpackaged perishable foodstuffs, such as serve customers at the meat or fish counter.

Is a person who works in the fruit or vegetable department in a food store required to have a Hygiene Passport?

  • No, if the employee prepares vegetables for sale, for example by cutting them into smaller pieces (such as cutting cabbages in half).
  • Yes, if they handle unpackaged and perishable foods, for example peel and chop vegetables or package them. In addition to vegetables, this rule applies to fruit, berries and mushrooms. Peeling or chopping vegetables essentially reduces their shelf life.  

Does an employee who works at a service counter of a food store need a Hygiene Passport?

  • No, if, for example, the employee works in an area where non-perishable bakery products are baked and sold (including buns, rolls, bread).
  • Yes, if they handle unpackaged and perishable foods, including cold cuts, fish and meat.

Does an in-store food product demonstrator need a Hygiene Passport?  

  • Yes, if they handle unpackaged and perishable foods, for example prepare food with raw meat, fish or chicken and serve samples to customers or package them for sale, or cut vegetables or package them for sale.

Does a bakery employee need a Hygiene Passport? 

  • No, if, for example, they make bread, rolls, sponge cakes, biscuits or buns. In this case, the ingredients or finished products they handle are not easily perishable foods. 
  • Yes, if they make perishable foodstuffs, including meat pastries or egg and rice pastries, meat pies and pizzas.

Does a honey producer need a Hygiene Passport? 

  • No. Honey that is extracted and packaged is not a perishable food.
  • Yes, if the honey producer makes, packages or sells perishable foodstuffs containing honey. 

Is a cleaner who works on food premises required to have a Hygiene Passport?

  • No, if their duties only include cleaning.

Does an employee in a café need a Hygiene Passport if no food is prepared in the cafe? 

  • No, if the employee for example only serves pre-prepared portions and charges customers.
  • Yes, if the employee handles unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs, for example makes salads (which often require cold storage) or ham pies (which require cooking) or makes fillings for baguettes and rolls, which includes chopping/slicing ingredients (such as cucumbers, tomatoes, cheese, ham, sausage).

Is a supervisor or manager required to have a Hygiene Passport? 

  • Yes, if they work on food premises and handle unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs.  

Is a food entrepreneur required to have a Hygiene Passport? 

  • Yes, if they work on food premises and handle unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs. 

Is a person who transports foods required to have a Hygiene Passport? 

  • No, if the person only transports packaged foodstuffs. However, the employer must give the driver sufficient instructions and, if necessary, training for completing their tasks hygienically.
  • Yes, if they transport and handle unpackaged, perishable foods (such as the driver of a milk lorry or truck transporting slaughtered carcasses).

Does a staff member at a day-care centre or old people’s home need a Hygiene Passport?

  • Yes, if the day-care centres or old people's homes kitchen is a food premise and they handle unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs. For example they prepare food in the kitchen of a day-care centre or old people's home, even if food preparation is only a small part of their work.
  • Yes, if the day-care centres or old people's homes kitchen is a food premise and they handle unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs. For example cook ‘raw’ food delivered from a central kitchen to the kitchen of the day-care centre or old people's home. The employee needs a Hygiene Passport even if food preparation is only a small part of their work.

Do employees in hospital and other similar wards need a Hygiene Passport if food is served in the ward?

  • No, if the employees simply hand out portions of food, make sandwiches or use the ward's kitchen, even if the ward's kitchen is a food premise, to heat up food that has been cooked and then chilled at a central kitchen.
  • Yes, if the wards kitchen is a food premise and they handle unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs. For example they prepare food in the ward’s kitchen, even if food preparation is only a small part of their work.
  • Yes, if the wards kitchen is a food premise and they handle unpackaged, perishable foodstuffs. For example they use the ward’s kitchen to cook ‘raw’ food delivered from a central kitchen. The employee needs a Hygiene Passport even if food preparation is only a small part of their work.

Does a family day-carer need a Hygiene Passport?

  • No, if day care is provided in a private home.

A family cay-carer may also mind children on premises hired from a municipality, for example, where food is prepared for the children and a food premises notification has been submitted to the food control authorities concerning the kitchen.

In this case, the family day-carer

  • does not need a Hygiene Passport if they only serve pre-prepared food or provide breakfasts and snacks consisting of ready-made foodstuffs (see the previous question).
  • does need a Hygiene Passport if they prepare food in a kitchen that is a food premises notified to the food control authorities (see the previous question).

Do the employees or residents of a group home, care home or reception centre need a Hygiene Passport?

These facilities may be group homes or nursing homes for older people or intellectually disabled or psychiatric clients, reception centres for asylum seekers or refugees or, for example, housing facilities with shared kitchen/dining facilities for the clients. In such facilities, the residents often take part in food preparation in different ways. Some units may have a kitchen and kitchen staff, while others may be quite home-like facilities where the residents are almost fully responsible for preparing meals for themselves.

As there are many different models of operation, no straightforward rule can be given about whether a Hygiene Passport is required or not. The answer to this question depends on whether the unit has a registered food premises (institutional kitchen) or a home-like kitchen.

  • The employee needs a Hygiene Passport if they prepare food in an institutional kitchen, in other words a kitchen that is a registered food premises notified to the food control authorities.
  • No Hygiene Passport is needed if they prepare food in a home-like kitchen, where the residents also participate in cooking.
  • A resident does not need a Hygiene Passport even if they sometimes enter the institutional kitchen to cook or bake. When an older person occasionally takes part in baking, for example, this is regarded as part of the living arrangements and care.

Does a person with an intellectual disability need a Hygiene Passport?

  • A person with an intellectual disability does not necessarily need a Hygiene Passport. If a person with an intellectual disability works as a client referred to in the Act on the Status and Rights of Social Welfare Clients (812/2000), in work activities referred to in the Act on Special Care for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities (519/1977), in day activities referred to in the Act on Disability Services and Assistance (380/1987), or in work or other activities aimed at supporting the employment of persons with disabilities referred to in the Social Welfare Act (1301/2014), they do not need a Hygiene Passport (section 19, subsection 2, paragraph 3 of the Food Act 297/2021). However, the employer must guide them in working hygienically in the kitchen. 

Is a person giving cookery classes for children in a day care centre required to have a Hygiene Passport?

  • Usually not, unless their activities are professional. A person who organises cookery classes professionally only needs to obtain a Hygiene Passport as proof of their proficiency when they have been performing tasks that meet the criteria for professional handling of foodstuffs regularly for three months.
Page last updated 11/16/2022