Whether at the food stall, in the restaurant, at the bakery or in the supermarket - food control has to be and protects every consumer. The inspectors come on complaints and also routinely at least once a year - unannounced. When should you, as a consumer, turn on official control and what do the authorities want to know about you?
A reason for food control
The surprise is great when Hanna S. from Braunschweig unpacks her pork fillet: In addition to a disgusting smell, an atypical film of lubricant covers the meat - which, according to the imprint on the packaging, should last at least five days. Hanna S. bought the meat in the supermarket, where she had once been angry about moldy goods. Although she was able to return the moldy bread and got a replacement, trust in the nearby business was gone. Mrs. S. acts: She calls the city of Brunswick. A few days later, the food inspectors visit the supermarket.
Company inspections at least once a year
A case of thousands and Mrs. S. was lucky because you can smell rotten meat. The situation is quite different for salmonella, as they often occur in summer in ice cream or mayonnaise. Because you do not smell or taste it - with the worst consequences for your health. Food control in Germany is a matter for the districts and municipalities. About 2, 500 inspectors are traveling nationwide. But according to the Federal Association of Food Inspectors it would have to be twice as many to be able to really control enough.
The "official sample"
A food inspector takes in business in the kitchen of the restaurant, an "official sample" for the investigation and at the same time a second cross-check, which he leaves officially closed in the business. It serves as a piece of evidence. Frequently, an operational control is performed at the same time to explore the general condition of the operation. In the supermarket where Hanna S. buys, the meat counter is carefully inspected. However, the samples taken as a result of the complaint make up on average only a few percent of the samples tested. Most of the samples are withdrawn by the Authority on their own initiative, for example during an operational inspection.
Every grocer, the baker or butcher, the fast food, all of them should be inspected at least once a year without notice. Companies that produce or process perishable foodstuffs such as meat, milk or fish are monitored intensively. And the black sheep, companies that have been noticed more often, visit more often. If conditions do not improve, fines and closures threaten.
When should you turn on official food control?
Customers should then turn on the Food Inspectorate if:
- in the business is not received on complaint,
- when it is known that complaints have often been made in a particular business,
- when a rotten food is also harmful to others, such as spoiled salads or fish.
In addition to information about the type of food, the Authority needs this information:
- Appearance of the packaging
- Information about the manufacturer or importer
- For loose goods: what information was attached to the goods in the shop
- Time when which deficiency was discovered
- Storage of food at home
- Period between purchase and consumption of food
- If damage has already occurred, how much time has elapsed between eating the food and the symptoms?
The same applies if the food looks too unappetizing and tastes at a restaurant visit or cockroaches demand their share of the food - here, the guest should not hesitate long, but quickly the address of the local food control, such as the bureau. The addresses of all food inspection offices can be found in the telephone directory or via the city or district administration.