Process of getting a hygiene pass for foreigners
Kirjoittanut: Anastassija Dedova - tiimistä Kaaos.
How to get a hygiene passport in Finland if you are a foreigner ( my own experience based)
“The Finnish Hygiene Passport for the food industry was developed to promote food safety. Those who work in the food industry must know how to handle foodstuffs safely and hygienically.” (hygieniapassi.fi)
I went through the whole process from applying for the food handler’s card to getting it. Here I would like to introduce everyone (mostly people who are not from Finland) to the process of getting the hygiene passport and share the information that I collected during the process.
Introduction to the system.
Firstly, who needs a hygiene passport? Everyone, who works on food premises and handles unpackaged foods. For example, if you are going to work in a café, food store, institutional kitchen, or in a factory that produces foodstuffs, you will need this card.
You have to be over 16 years old, by the way.
When you realized that you need a hygiene passport for your future job, you need to be registered for a test. The process of registration is quite easy. Be ready to pay, it is not for free!
On the official website ruokavirasto.fi you can find all the relevant information and book a spot for the test right away. Please, do not book the closest possible spot if you are not sure about your ability to pass it, take some time for preparation and reading.
A good thing you should know is that you are allowed to do the test in English/Finnish/Swedish languages by your choice. That makes the process much easier for foreigners in my opinion. All materials you can find on the open internet or you can also buy ready paper materials from Finnish Food Authority for about 35 euros which is also not bad. I chose the first option by the way and will tell more about this in a while.
Well, now you need just study and cover the main topics, which are:
- Food handling, hygienic working methods.
- Microbes and food poisoning.
- Personal hygiene.
- Food handling hazards.
- Own check and food legislation.
Notice, that it is absolutely okay if you are not able to pronounce some microbes’ names and some words just do not make any sense, it is a part of the experience.
Also, as more you start knowing about how easily the sterile condition is ruined, about different viruses and microbes, as less you feel secure even in your own kitchen.
One very useful tool that will help you during the studying process is a model test that you can find online on the same website ruokavirasto.fi. The test consists of 40 questions that cover all the topics I mentioned earlier.
Finalizing the process
Finally, the day of the exam. The most important thing is to get a VALID ID with you. Without proper identification, no one will allow you to take part in the exam. Otherwise, everything is easy, just (trust the process) follow instructions, and pass the test. I, personally, got results during the same evening.
If you are going to start working earlier than 2-4 weeks after taking the test, ask your examinator to send you via email a temporary certificate that you successfully accomplished the test. It is needed because it will take some time unless you will get your physical hygiene passport by post, but your employer can already request the document.
The whole process was quite easy, and it took me a week. Here is the link to the website https://www.ruokavirasto.fi/
Through this process, I learned a lot. It was a huge amount of useful information and I started applying my new bits of knowledge immediately. For us, as entrepreneurs, the hygiene passport is playing a big role, when we are taking part in food sector projects. Overall, having a hygiene passport is essential for entrepreneurs in the food industry to maintain food safety, build a positive reputation, and improve business operations. Running a food truck, catering start up, or just looking for a summer job as an attempt to cover spending for your new business idea… I think, a hygiene passport would be a good investment.