Interview with a Hygiene Passport Test Insctructor – Elina Seppänen's Tips

What is a Hygiene Passport? What is its significance in the food industry? How to succeed in the Hygiene Passport test? How to avoid common mistakes?

We interviewed a food industry professional, Elina Seppänen, who has been working as a Hygiene Passport test instructor and trainer at Osaamistehdas since 2014. Elina Seppänen holds a master's degree in food sciences with a major in nutrition science. Currently, alongside her role as a Hygiene Passport test instructor, she works as a consultant, introducing and giving taste samples of new food products.

1. What is a Hygiene Passport and why is it important in the food industry?

A Hygiene Passport is a credential granted to individuals who have successfully passed the Hygiene Passport test. The passport includes both a paper document and a plastic card. A Hygiene Passport is essential for individuals working in food establishments who handle unpackaged, perishable food items. Obtaining a Hygiene Passport demonstrates that the individual has sufficient knowledge of food hygiene practices to work hygienically in a food establishment. Food hygiene competence reduces the risk of food poisoning and also decreases food waste!

2. What does the Hygiene Passport test consist of, and what does preparation for it require?

The Hygiene Passport test consists of 40 statements to which the test-taker must respond with either true or false. The statements cover various aspects of food hygiene, which should be thoroughly studied before taking the test:

1. Basics of microbiology and food contamination

2. Foodborne illnesses

3. Hygienic practices

4. Personal hygiene

5. Cleaning procedures

6. Self-monitoring

7. Legislation, authorities

Preparation for the test can involve attending training sessions and/or self-study using books or online resources. Materials for studying can be found on websites such as and the Finnish Food Authority's website. Before the test, individuals can review and assess their knowledge by taking practice tests on

3. Are there any common mistakes or misconceptions among participants, and how can these be avoided?

Often, test-takers struggle to distinguish between regulations and recommendations, such as in hand hygiene. Sometimes, this distinction is not even presented clearly in the study materials. Additionally, some actions might be acceptable at home in a kitchen setting, but not in a food establishment. When answering test statements, it's crucial to consider scenarios from the perspective of a food establishment – how one would act in a bakery, restaurant, or large kitchen, for instance.

A strong understanding of food hygiene is essential for safe work in food establishments and serves as an effective means of reducing the risk of food poisoning and food waste. A Hygiene Passport is much more than a mere piece of paper or plastic card – it represents expertise and contributes to overall food safety!

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