Hygiene proficiency generally
Food hygiene proficiency
Food hygiene proficiency implies ongoing updating of knowledge and skills, and that companies bring in-house controlling up to date to account for current developments in their industry. In addition to good food hygiene reducing the health risks of foodstuffs, applying such can also reduce wastage in the company. Persons working with foodstuff are required to have competence in seven separate subsections of hygiene proficiency: microbiology, food poisoning, hygienic working methods, personal hygiene, cleaning, in-house control and legislation.
Food hygiene proficiency is regulated by the food hygiene regulation (852/2004/EU), and the Food Act (23/2006, amendment 1137/2008). Operators in the food business are required to ensure at their own expense that employees handling foodstuff are given training and instructions relevant to their work tasks. In addition, employers/operators in the food business shall ensure that persons whose work is to handle unpackaged easily perishable foodstuffs in spaces for foodstuffs have proficiency certificates (hygiene passports) proving these people’s food hygiene proficiency. Practical proficiency involves applying knowledge and proficiency confirmed by a certificate or acquired otherwise to everyday work. Important for implementing the principle of hygiene proficiency is that company employees as well as managements are committed to maintaining good hygiene.
Confirming hygiene proficiency
Food hygiene proficiency is established through an accepted proficiency certificate issued by the Food Safety Authority that has been acquired having passed a separate proficiency test or by appropriate education on examination. The Proficiency certificate includes an A4-sized paper certificate and an associated plastic credit card-sized hygiene proficiency card. Both paper certificate and plastic proficiency card passes as proficiency certificate. A proficiency certificate is issued with the applicant’s name and it is personal property, not the employer’s.
Proficiency certificates are issued by certified proficiency examiners
Proficiency examinations are arranged, and proficiency certificates are issued by independently operating proficiency examiners certified by the Finnish Food Safety Authority. The Finnish Food Safety Authority neither arranges proficiency tests nor organizes education for those participating in proficiency tests, nor does this Authority issue proficiency certificates. In addition to arranging examinations, proficiency examiners also have the responsibility to inform about them, and to issue new certificates (replacing lost ones, or those when an applicant changes their name and wishes to have their certificate in the new name).
Some proficiency examiners arrange courses in hygiene proficiency prior to testing, while others examiners arrange only tests. Proficiency examiners may charge certificate applicants a fee covering the actual costs of arranging tests and issuing certificates. The FinnishFood Safety Authority coordinates orders for hygiene proficiency certificates, and charges examiners 6,00 €/certificate.
Included, through the link at left (List of proficiency examiners certified by the Finnish Food safety Authority), is a list of certified proficiency examiners that have given consent to publishing their contact information.