Twenty years of safe food thanks to the Hygiene Passport

February 1/2022

The Hygiene Passport of Finland's food sector marks its 20th anniversary this year. Nearly 1, 358, 000 Hygiene Passports had been issued as of February 2022.  Many Finns are now familiar with the basic rules of food hygiene. People working in food sector and at home know how to prepare food safely.

Those working in food sector are required to master the basic facts of food hygiene to make sure they can handle food safely. The correct processing of foodstuffs also significantly increases the shelf life and improves food safety.

Employees in the food sector who work in food premises such as restaurants and food factories and handle unpackaged perishable foodstuffs as part of their work are required to have a Hygiene Passport. Many employers also require other employees to have a Hygiene Passport, because it boosts their skills and knowledge.

The Hygiene Passport has proven to be surprisingly popular. Twenty years ago, it was estimated that about 130,000 employees in the food sector would need a Hygiene Passport. Nowadays, about 9,000 testing events are held and about 50,000 Hygiene Passports are issued each year. The hygiene proficiency system based on Finnish legislation is unique and has raised considerable interest in other countries. Information on Finnish food safety and its hygiene proficiency system has been shared with several Asian countries, for example.

Hygiene Passport helps in applying for work

To get a Hygiene Passport, an applicant needs to pass the Hygiene Passport test, which measures knowledge of various aspects of food hygiene. The questions in the test apply to microbiology, food poisoning, hygienic working methods, personal hygiene, cleaning, self-supervision, and food legislation. Hygiene Passport tests are arranged, and the Hygiene Passports are issued by Hygiene Passport examiners approved by the Finnish Food Authority.

The Hygiene Passport test can often be passed already in the upper grades of school, or while completing military service, for example. The Hygiene Passport is part of general knowledge and makes it easier to gain employment in the food sector, as well as in the fields of healthcare, cleaning, and transport, for example.  Passing the Hygiene Passport test also teaches safe working methods in home kitchens.

The Finnish Food Authority manages and maintains the hygiene proficiency system and guides and controls the activities of the Hygiene Passport examiners. Municipal food control officials monitor the implementation of the requirements for hygiene competence in the food business operators, such as restaurants, large kitchens, and food factories.

More information on the Hygiene Passport is available on the Finnish Food Authority website

Further Information
Senior Officer Satu Meririnne, tel. +358 50 316 0841,