Between fryer grease and the cold chain

By Christian BlockMike Zenari Switch to German for original article

Since mid–March, follow–up inspections in the area of food hygiene are subject to a fee. This should also reduce the workload of the inspectors. However, this does not change the need for more staff in the planned new administration.

It is nine o'clock in the morning at the café Paname in the capital. Only a few tables are occupied at this hour. The coffee machine is running. Josiane Dahm and François Zimer introduce themselves. They are there that morning for a food hygiene check. The head chef is called. She leads Dahm and Zimer to a small room in the basement that serves as a dry storage and storage area. On the way there, Dahm asks about the goods receiving area and learns that the rubbish bins are taken up separately in a second lift. Then the two put on white coats and hairnets and hand out their business cards. This is to enable the inspected companies to ask questions later. Routine for the two inspectors.

But the appointment is actually anything but that. Usually only one inspector comes to inspect a café like this one. In addition, the inspection was announced in advance for the purpose of reporting – it was not possible to accompany a regular inspection. Nevertheless, the experienced inspectors proceed as usual.

The inspectors normally visit food trucks, kebab shops, bakeries, petrol stations, grocery shops and restaurants unannounced. Exceptions are so-called audits in large food companies: Because the inspectors depend on the presence of the quality managers who are usually present in such companies, they register a few days in advance. An inspection of a large company can take four to five hours.

"Most of them welcome us with open arms", says Zimer, an agricultural engineer. After all, operational blindness can spread even among the most duty-conscious in the industry. But there are always exceptions. In "complicated" cases, where the inspectors are received in a less than friendly manner, the employees of the food safety department arrive in pairs. If a company refuses to allow the inspectors in from the very beginning, they sometimes arrive accompanied by customs and police.

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