World Food Safety Day: How the Hygiene Passport Can Be Harnessed to Prepare for the Unexpected

World Food Safety Day is celebrated this year on June 7th. Organized by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), the purpose of this day is to raise awareness and encourage actions to prevent, detect, and manage foodborne risks. This year's theme, "Food Safety: Prepare for the Unexpected," emphasizes the importance of readiness in handling unexpected challenges in the food industry. In Finland, one way to prepare for unexpected food safety issues is through the Hygiene Passport. The primary purpose of the Hygiene Passport is to enhance national food safety, ensuring everyone has the right to clean, safe, and hygienic food.

The Global Impact of Foodborne Diseases

Food safety is a significant global issue. Every year, one in ten people falls ill from contaminated food, with over 200 diseases caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites, or chemical substances such as heavy metals in food. The statistics are alarming: more than 600 million people fall ill, and 420,000 die annually due to foodborne diseases. Children under the age of five are particularly vulnerable, accounting for 40% of all foodborne illnesses, which can lead to severe malnutrition and even death.

Why Food Safety Matters

Safe food impacts more than just health. It affects food security, economic well-being, agricultural productivity, market access, tourism, and sustainable development. When food is not safe, people cannot obtain the nutrients they need to stay healthy, learn, and work. Therefore, food safety is everyone's business, from producers to consumers.

Preparing for the Unexpected in Food Safety

This year's World Food Safety Day theme emphasizes preparing for the unexpected. Whether it's a power outage affecting food storage, a contamination incident, or a natural disaster, preparedness is key.

How Food Industry Businesses Can Prepare for the Unexpected:

  • Maintain Food Safety Management Plans: Regularly update and test these plans to ensure their effectiveness.
  • Share Learnings: Collaborate with other businesses, share experiences, and improve overall food safety practices.
  • Enhance Communication with Customers: Provide clear and timely information about food safety practices and actions.

How Consumers Can Prepare for the Unexpected:

  • Understand Food Hygiene Basics: Know the basics of hygienic food preparation, storage temperatures, and how to identify and respond to potential hygiene issues in restaurants.

The Role of the Hygiene Passport in Ensuring Food Safety

A key tool in maintaining food safety is the Hygiene Passport. This certificate demonstrates that an individual understands the basics of food hygiene, which is essential for those working in the food industry. The Hygiene Passport ensures that everyone involved in food handling understands and can implement essential hygiene practices to prevent food contamination.

  • Qualification: The Hygiene Passport shows that you know the principles of food hygiene and can apply them effectively at work.
  • Safety and Quality Assurance: It helps ensure that food handled by those with a Hygiene Passport meets safety and quality standards, protecting public health.

On World Food Safety Day, June 7th, we are reminded that food safety is a collective effort. Obtaining a Hygiene Passport is a proactive step towards ensuring the safety and quality of our food. Whether you are a food industry professional or a consumer, the importance of knowledge and preparedness is crucial. Let's work together to ensure that the food on our plates is safe to eat, even in the face of unexpected events.

One step towards food safety is mastering the basics of food hygiene.

One way to do this is to study them to support your own home kitchen skills. offers online training on the subject and has created Finland's first mobile application on food hygiene, where everyone can study and practice food safety!

Let's create a safe food culture together!