Frequently asked questions about Oiva
This page provides a summary of the frequently asked questions about Oiva.
1What do I do, if I detect deficiencies in the hygiene of food industry companies? Who do I inform if there are errors in product labelling?
You should contact the food control authorities in the municipality where the company is located. If required, the municipal health inspectors can intervene in any deficiencies. Contact details of municipal food control authorities can be found at:
Contact municipal food control authorities (opens in a new tab)
2Where can I find the control results for a food store or a restaurant?
The Oiva report will be published on this website and in the vicinity of the entrance to the inspected establishment when a consumer visits a company, such as a store, restaurant, kiosk, fast-food restaurant or factory outlet etc. The inspected food premises should always post the Oiva report of the most recent inspection in the vicinity of its entrance.
3Why am I unable to find the Oiva report fo the company I am looking for in the search function?
Inspections in accordance with the Oiva system are conducted in accordance with a control plan. If you cannot find the Oiva report in the service, it is likely that the inspection for the company you were searching for hasn’t been conducted yet or the owner of the company has changed. Different companies have a varying inspection frequency in their control plan. Depending on the extent and risk-based nature of operations, some companies may have an inspection several times a year, but some only once in three years.
4Are the inspections based on the Oiva system conducted in the companies without any advance notification?
According to the legislation, the inspections are primarily carried out without any advance notification. However, regulations do allow advance notification in cases where it is appropriate due to the implementation of the inspection. Usually where the inspection time has been agreed upon in advance, the purpose is to review issues which can only be examined when a person in charge is present. The next inspection following this inspection is usually conducted without prior notification.
There are food businesses, however, whom are always notified of an inspection in advance. These include locations where it is possible for the inspector to move about independently. However, food businesses who have been notified in advance of an inspection are usually so large that they generally would not have enough time to make such corrective actions that would not become evident during the inspection.
5How is the control result determined? Why is the control result not an average of all the given grades?
The result of the inspection is determined on the basis of the weakest grade issued for the inspected items. The grades cannot be average values of all the received results, because hygiene is not something you can follow on average. For example, if five samples taken from the same food are clean, but there are food-poisoning bacteria in one sample, it does not make the food suitable for consumption on average.
6Does Oiva require food workers to remove all their jewellery?
Legislative requirements are the same as before Oiva, as Oiva is based on the current, valid regulations. In food work, piercing jewellery and other jewellery must always be removed or covered with appropriate protective garments, if the worker is processing unpacked and easily perishable foodstuffs. If no unpacked, easily perishable foodstuffs are processed, the use of jewellery is not as such forbidden, unless food safety is compromised by them. Use of jewellery in food work is, however, not recommended.
7Can a food worker have tattoos? Do tattoos need to be covered on the basis of the Oiva system?
Legislation is the same as before Oiva. If a person processing unpacked, easily perishable foodstuffs has a tattoo, but the skin in the area is intact, the tattoo does not need to be covered. If again there is a wound on the skin or the skin is otherwise broken, the site must always be covered in order to prevent microbes from spreading. When the tattoo area has healed and there is a layer of healthy skin on top of the tattoo, it does not cause a hygiene risk similar to piercings. Thus, food workers do not need to be prohibited from having tattoos.
8What does the report to be placed on the company doors look like? Is it a smiley face sticker?
Placed in the vicinity of company doors, the Oiva report is equivalent to the Oiva report found on the oivahymy.fi website. The report is of A4 format and usually a single page. So, no individual smiley face stickers shall be placed on company doors. You can view a model of an Oiva report here.
9What does the Oiva report look like and what does it contain?
The Oiva report contains several emoticon grades. It displays both the control result as well as all the emoticons the company has received for the various topical areas entities on the particular inspection. Since 2016, the number of inspected matters and their results in numbers, for example, Excellent 9 results, Good 1 result, etc. have been added on the Oiva report.
The Oiva report also includes written Oiva observations which clarify the reasons for why the grade is not Excellent on some accounts. The Oiva report also shows the control result for the last two inspections. A model report and tips for reading the report can be found here
10How are the items displayed on the Oiva report selected for inspection?
On each inspection, the issues which are seen to include the greatest food-safety risks are taken under review. These can include, for example, general order and cleanliness, temperature control and hygienic operations and sometimes product labelling are also inspected. Other matters are inspected at least once every three years or if any deficiencies are detected in these matters during an inspection. Refer to a more detailed division of titles here.
11Why is the Oiva report longer for some companies than for others?
The length of the Oiva report for various companies varies, because food inspectors conduct inspections once every three years for different items to be inspected in accordance with different schedules. In addition, all the items to be inspected during every inspection are not part of the operations of every company. For example, if there is no meat counter in the store, the item on inspecting the service counters cannot be conducted.
12Do shoes forgotten on the floor pose a safety risk?
Shoes and other items which have been left on the locker room floor during the day do not affect food safety. But goods left on the floor for long-term storage do make it difficult to clean the floors and premises and could therefore affect the company’s hygiene level and possibly also food safety.
13Does a mop in a bucket pose a risk for food safety?
A mop in a bucket does not automatically constitute a food-safety risk. There is no risk during daily cleaning. If, on the other hand, the mop is stored in an empty bucket for longer periods of time, it will not allow the mop to dry out properly. This will result in the mop spreading bacteria in the food premises. Dirty washing water also constitutes a risk.
14Why has a company been given a Good emoticon, not an Excellent one?
There are small issues with the operations which do not impair food safety or mislead consumers. The goal is, however, to inform the consumer why the result is not excellent in terms of adhering to the law.
15Is the food better in a restaurant which has been awarded an Excellent?
The Oiva system does not take a stand on how the food tastes. Oiva provides information on whether the company has kept its hygiene level and product safety in check.