Denmark eyes changing hygiene marking System
by FFE EU News Staff
Denmark’s Food Administration (Fødevarestyrelsen) is considering changing its yellow food hygiene reports because customers tend to misinterpret the smiley faces.
Agriculture Minister Dan Jørgensen said ‘[Consumers] associate the elite smiley with a greater level of security than the Fødevarestyrelsen says they can actually provide. The point of the smiley is to provide better information, not the opposite. That is why I think it is sensible to drop the elite smiley.’
In the system, shops and restaurants are rated for their level of hygiene using four emoticons ranging from sad to a beaming smiley face. Establishments that successfully hit the top mark on four successive checks receive an ‘Elite’ smiley.
Consumer watchdog Tænk and lobby group Dansk Erhverv are both in favour of the overhaul. Tænk spokesperson Camilla Udsen pointed out a Fødevarestyrelsen study that noted customers usually over-interpret the elite smileys.
She said ‘I think that the elite smiley sends a signal that hygiene conditions are far better than they really are. The elite smiley is not a better mark than the happy-faced smiley. All it means is that the establishment received four top marks in a row.’