Health requirements when handling food

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Health requirements when dealing with food affect everyone who deals with food professionally in Germany. The basis is Section 8 (Section 42, Section 43) of the Infection Protection Act .

Activity ban and employment ban

A person may not be active except in private housekeeping and one may not employ professionally, provided that this person

  1. Food manufactures, processes or places on the market and comes into contact with them,
  2. comes into contact with the commodities used, such as serviettes or containers, in such a way that it may be transferred to food or
  3. works in the kitchen of a restaurant or other facility with or for communal catering



Food within the meaning of Section 42 Infection Protection Act are:

  • Meat, poultry meat and products made therefrom
  • Milk and milk-based products
  • Fish, crabs or molluscs and products made therefrom
  • Egg products
  • Food for babies and young children
  • Ice cream and semi-finished ice cream
  • Baked goods with a filling or topping that is not fully baked or has been heated through
  • Delicatessen, raw vegetables and potato salads, marinades, mayonnaise, other emulsified sauces, yeasts
  • Sprouts and seedlings for raw consumption and seeds for the production of sprouts and seedlings for raw consumption.

Certificate from the health department

The prerequisite for the activity as well as its employment is the certificate from the health department that

  1. the person concerned has been instructed in particular about the ban on activities and the principles of food hygiene and
  2. has subsequently declared in writing that he is not aware of anything that speaks in favor of such an activity ban.

A health passport (also called “ red card ”), which certifies certain health examinations and a corresponding harmlessness ( health certificate ), is no longer necessary since the Infection Protection Act 2001 came into force. If there is evidence of a prohibition of activity, a medical certificate must still be submitted before the certificate is issued, stating that this obstacle does not exist or has been removed.

The instruction is carried out by the health department or by a doctor appointed by the health department. Before starting work for the first time in accordance with Section 42 of the Infection Protection Act, it must not be older than three months. The employer must instruct his employees again when they start work and every two years thereafter, and also to instruct them that they must immediately inform them of any reasons for a prohibition on activity. These instructions must be documented. The certificate must be kept available at the operating site.

The certificate is subject to a fee and costs in Berlin, for example, € 20 for group instruction and € 36 for individual instruction. In Lower Saxony, the cost of individual instruction is € 26 and for people who do voluntary work, € 0 (the certificate for volunteers is only valid for this one activity and is invalid after completion of the work).

Consequences of disregard

A violation of the prohibition of activity is also punishable in the case of negligence; In addition, the responsible person on the side of the food business operator who allowed this person to act in this way and thus under these health risks is also liable to prosecution. If the disease or pathogen in question was spread as a result, they must be sentenced to at least three months' imprisonment. The person who employs a person without a certificate or who does not have this certificate available at the business premises faces a fine; as well as the person working there who has not duly communicated existing or emerging reasons for their activity and employment ban.

German Democratic Republic

GDR health card

In the GDR there were similar standards for epidemic hygiene monitoring and general hygienic controls of all persons who were active in the field of supplying the population with food or preparing public meals.

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. Section 43 (1) sentence 2 IfSG
  2. ^ Information from the Berlin-Mitte district office - food personnel advice
  3. § 75 IfSG
  4. Section 73 (1a) IfSG