Owners will have the option to pay for a reassessment , Source: Jay Wennington / Unsplash

Berlin’s restaurants and cafés will have to display their hygiene rating from 2023

Berlin’s restaurants and cafés will have to display their hygiene rating from 2023

The Clean Kitchen Act, modelled after the Danish ‘Smile’ system will feature bar charts showing compliance with health regulations for each venue

At the start of 2023, the Clean Kitchen Act (Saubere-Küchen-Gesetz) will come into force in Berlin. The new policy aims at making restaurants in the German capital display the results of the surprise hygiene inspections carried out by city authorities.

The idea behind the regulation is to strengthen the gastronomy sector by offering consumers more transparency in cafes, restaurants, bakeries and canteens and is somewhat modelled after the Danish system. However, some critics have pointed out that Berlin’s version of the law is too lenient and allows owners a chance to ‘buy’ their way out of a bad rating.

The Clean Kitchen Act

As the DPA reports, in the new law, the Berlin Senate Department for the Environment, Consumer and Climate Protection will require the official results from hygiene and food control assessments to be made public, visible and understandable. This includes presenting them in the form of a bar chart on the restaurant premises.

With the new regulation, consumers would have more agency when choosing gastronomy, especially when it comes to hygiene standards in the production, preparation and sale of food.

The leniency

Many have criticized the policy for being too lenient. This is because, while the initial assessments will feature unannounced visits from authorities, owners can request a follow-up, which is paid.

The follow-up would, in turn, be scheduled after the assessment is complete, and the initial results would no longer be publicly available. Instead, the venues would only be required to display the follow-up charts.

This has been compared to the Danish ‘Smile’ system, with the gastronomy industry, subject to similar hygiene and quality checks. Danish owners are required to display the results of surprise visits on their entrance and they can range from a smiling face – indicating nothing wrong, to a frown, showing that the venue is in breach of health regulations and could be subject to fines.



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