Food hygiene refers to good practices that improve the safety of food. Key practices include reducing or eliminating direct health hazards or preventing them from multiplying in foodstuffs. Health hazards may be caused by biological (microbes, parasites and prion proteins), chemical (toxic substances and allergens) or physical materials (foreign objects, insects and bone splinters) found in food.
Food business operators are responsible for the safety of the foodstuffs they supply. This can be ensured with a system of own checks that help operators to control the hygiene and safety of their production processes and products. Operators must comply with the requirements of hygiene legislation concerning foodstuffs and their handling, food establishments and operators’ obligations. For example, operators are obliged to demonstrate their food hygiene competence with a so-called Hygiene Passport.
In Finland, compliance with hygiene legislation is supervised by municipal food control authorities. Regional State Administrative Agencies and Evira are also responsible for certain control duties, such as meat inspection.