Danish authorities have found a quarter of companies don’t follow the rules when collecting or delivering food.

A Danish Veterinary and Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) control campaign from May to September 2021 looked at the transport of food at retail level. It did not cover the occasional delivery of food ordered from supermarkets or restaurants.

Officials did 385 inspections to analyze the hygiene and temperature conditions for food transport. Refrigerated goods must be moved at a maximum of 5 degrees C (41 degrees F).

If food is not stored and transported correctly there is a risk that the cold chain will be broken and it will become contaminated. Many registered companies pick up food themselves and deliver finished goods in their own transportation vehicles, which are often ordinary cars used to move other things as well. Longer transport time, especially in hot summer months, is another issue.

One in four companies received a fine or warning from the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration. Some businesses expressed a lack of awareness about temperature requirements applying during transport.

The majority of inspections took place at companies that themselves pick up goods at a wholesale market. In this group, every third firm was warned or fined for violating the requirement that refrigerated food must be transported at a temperature below 5 degrees C (41 degrees F). Two sanctions related to the risk of food contamination.

During the campaign, there was feedback that companies were starting to use thermo boxes when collecting refrigerated goods from wholesale markets.

However, only a few warnings were imposed at companies handling food for the elderly with the majority following the rules.

Because of the findings, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration is to provide guidance, a fact sheet on the rules and ask industry organizations to help create greater awareness of food transport best practices.

Smiley rating update
Meanwhile, the Danish Veterinary and Food Administration has simplified the 20-year-old system used to help consumers understand if an establishment has performed well or not during official checks.

The rating system has gone from four to three levels and now includes a happy smiley face, a straight face and a sad face. The “slight” smile has been dropped.

The change was driven by surveys showing consumers had a hard time understanding the ratings and found it difficult to assess how well a food outlet was complying with the rules.

Beginning in April, companies must also link to the latest inspection reports on www.findsmiley.dk from all digital platforms where they sell food, including on sites such as Just Eat.

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