Food processing businesses

Hygiene in the workplace

Information on the cleanliness and maintenance of all your establishment's rooms, outdoor facilities, equipment, machines and devices can be found under the category of hygiene in the workplace.

Ensure that outdoor areas are kept clean and in good repair and condition. Where necessary, clean the corresponding surfaces and areas. Do not store any goods outside the storage and logistics area.

Outdoor areas

When designing changing facilities, make sure that street clothing and work wear are stored separately. This can be done for example using lockers or clothes hooks. As a food business operator, you are responsible for ensuring that satisfactory changing facilities are available for your staff.

Umkleide Frau Umkleide Mann

Changing facilities must be kept clean and tidy. Make sure that clean work clothing does not come in contact with dirty work clothing. The requirement of keeping work wear strictly separate from street clothing must be adhered to.

The hygiene station should be the last room before you get to the production room(s). You enter it already in your work and/or protective clothing, with a hairnet on, any piercings covered and wounds properly dressed.

There are two forms of hygiene station: stations with restricted guidance and stations without restricted guidance. The difference between the two is that with a restricted guidance station, it is not possible to access the production rooms, until you have completed all the requisite hygiene measures in the station. This includes:

  • Washing hands with soap hot water;
  • Drying hands with a disposable towel;
  • Properly disinfecting the hands;
  • Cleaning the soles of your shoes.

Ideally, you have the option of using valve-free equipment with integrated sensors. In other words, you do not have to touch a water tap, dispenser or waste bin directly with your hands.

An adequate number of flush lavatories connected to an effective drainage system must be available. Soap dispensers, hygienic hand-drying solutions and hand sanitizers are recommended, as is the use of soap containing disinfectant. When designing the business premises, you must ensure that the toilet facilities do NOT open directly into rooms where food is handled (e.g. production rooms).

Toilet facilities, including walls, floors and drainage channels must be kept clean and be regularly disinfected. Waste bins must be emptied on a daily basis, the various dispensers (soap, hand towel, sanitizer, toilet paper) should be checked on a daily basis and replenished as necessary. Cleaning, disinfecting and monitoring activities should be documented.

An adequate number of washbasins, with a minimum of one, must be available and suitably located, e.g. by the various production processes. They must be provided with hot and cold running water of drinking water quality, and with materials for cleaning hands and for hygienic drying (e.g. disposable towels, towel rollers).

Waschbecken 01

Washbasins for cleaning food must also be available. These washbasins are not to be used for washing hands. If, for space reasons, it is not possible to have separate washbasins, a double bowl sink unit may be used, with a sign clearly stating the purpose of each bowl.

Waschbecken 02

Keep the washbasins clean and in good condition.

All business premises, including sanitary facilities, must be suitably ventilated. This may be natural or mechanical ventilation. By providing suitable ventilation, you are actively helping to avoid the risk of contamination;

If it is not possible to have any suitable form of natural ventilation, you must have access to mechanical ventilation systems. When installing and operating such systems, make sure that the parts to be cleaned or replaced (e.g. filters) are readily accessible. It is necessary to extract air from areas in the workplace, where fumes from production systems may adversely affect food.


Airflows generated by a ventilation system are not to be channelled from a contaminated area (e.g. break rooms or toilets) to a clean area (e.g. production room).


Staff rooms and rooms in which staff work with food are to have adequate lighting, which may be natural (daylight) and/or artificial (electric lights). In any event, it should be possible to easily detect any dirt through adequate lighting. With electric lights, it is recommended to ensure that shatter protection is incorporated, so that you prevent the food being contaminated by any foreign objects falling from the lights, e.g. broken glass.


To ensure careful cleaning, an adequate supply of drinking water must be available. Mains water in Germany is subject to the provisions of the German Drinking Water Ordinance.


Waste water systems must be set up such that the waste water does not come in contact with the food.

Pests, such as mice, rats and insects, can pass germs or dirt onto food, equipment and surfaces.

Schaedling Maus

It is therefore important to take the following preventive measures:

  • Openings that can be opened onto the outside must be effectively protected, e.g. with insect-proof screens, and basement or light well covers. Doors must be kept closed. In this way, pests are prevented from entering the premises.
  • Rubber seals around loading bays should be kept intact, as pests can also enter via this route.
  • Checks for pest infestation should be carried out when goods are delivered, with goods being rejected if any signs of infestation are detected. See Incoming goods log
  • Waste should be stored in closed and well ventilated rooms, or in a secure outside area (see Waste / waste disposal logistics).
  • The workplace rooms and storage rooms must be checked for signs of pest infestation on a regular basis (monthly checks are recommended, or as required). The checks may also be carried out by an external pest control specialist. Infested foods must be disposed of. The checking process must be documented.
  • For monitoring purposes, only use non-toxic bait, monitoring devices or traps. It is recommended that you place the bait stations in places where you suspect rodent activity or where pests could easily enter the building. Follow the manufacturer's recommendations for use.
  • If signs of pest infestation are detected, you should arrange for pest control measures to be carried out by a duly trained person, e.g. a professional pest controller.

Checklist templates for pest monitoring activities can be downloaded here

To prevent waste coming into contact with food and contaminating it, make sure that you comply with the following points:

  • Remove all waste as quickly as possible from rooms in which food is handled.
  • Only use sealable containers to collect waste in the workplace rooms. It is recommended that you use containers that can be opened and closed with a foot pedal. This prevents the possible contamination of hands.
  • Empty all waste containers at the latest after close of business each day.
  • Store waste such that no vermin will be attracted, e.g. in closed and well ventilated rooms. Waste storage sites should be kept clean and be regularly checked for any signs of infestation. It is recommended that waste is stored in sealable rooms.
  • Make sure that the waste containers close tight, are kept in a good state of repair, and can be easily cleaned and disinfected.
  • Containers for food waste must be duly marked ("Category 3 material – not intended for human consumption") and kept sealed to prevent animals and  pests having access to it - Template to download
  • Avoid food deliveries taking place at the same time as waste disposal activities. You will therefore avoid any risk of contamination.
  • The commercial documents applicable for the disposal of production waste must be retained for 2 years (proof of disposal) Regulation (EC) 1069/2009

The materials used to fit out your workplace rooms should be smooth, suitable for use with food and non-toxic. The surfaces should be smooth, so that they can be easily cleaned and disinfected.


Floors must be slip-proof, resistant to abrasion, non-absorbent and water-repellent. The floors in some rooms, e.g. production rooms, should also have drain outlets.
The workplace rooms must always be kept clean and in good repair and condition.


For windows, doors and other openings, such as extractor fans or openings for pipework, the following applies:

  • Keep them clean and in a good state of repair.
  • If possible, keep windows and doors closed throughout the entire process of producing / processing the food.
  • To prevent insects from entering the workplace rooms, it is recommended that you have insect-proof screens with a mesh width of 1.2 mm (as recommended by DEHOGA [German Hotel and Restaurants Association]) affixed to windows and doors, if they are opened for ventilation purposes.
  • Make sure that the surfaces of your doors are smooth, water-repellent, and easy to clean and disinfect. Keep all doors clean, in a good state of repair and closed as a matter of course.

Keep all surfaces that may be touched by food, such as working surfaces, clean and in good repair and condition. Make sure that these surfaces are also easy to clean and disinfect.

To achieve a high standard of food safety, make sure that all fixtures, devices and machines are easy to clean and disinfect. This includes ensuring that surfaces are made of a suitable material, all areas to be cleaned are readily accessible and the surrounding area can be easily cleaned.

It must be possible to clean and disinfect machines and devices that come into direct contact with food, such as mixers or slicing machines.

Make sure that devices and equipment are suitable for contact with food. Utensils and machines must meet certain criteria to be suitable for direct contact with food.

The following symbol represents suitability for contact with foodstuffs.


Alternatively, the machine may be accompanied with a corresponding certificate from the manufacturer, called a certificate of conformity.

Further information on this topic can be found on the following web page of the Bavarian Health and Food Safety Authority.


When using any refrigeration facilities, such as cold-storage rooms, refrigerators, freezers and ice boxes, observe the following points:

  • Do not store goods directly on the floor in refrigeration facilities.
  • Store loose goods in boxes.
  • Boxes in cold-storage facilities may not be stored on the floor.
  • Cover / seal goods as a matter of course.
  • Store foodstuffs in glass containers lower down in the refrigeration system.
  • Refrigeration facilities should be easy to clean and disinfect.
  • Clean and disinfect cold-storage rooms once a month and as required; pay special attention to keeping ventilators, refrigeration units and joints clean.
  • To ensure that refrigeration temperatures are adhered to, all refrigeration systems must be checked and documented

The cleanliness of the rooms, equipment and devices can significantly affect the food safety and quality of your products. It is therefore important that you correctly clean and disinfect them on a regular basis. Prepare a cleaning and disinfecting plan covering all the rooms and objects in your business. The frequency with which they are to be cleaned and disinfected depends on the requirements specific to your individual business. Click on the following links for an overview of how often to clean and disinfect the individual rooms and facilities, cleaning and disinfecting.

Observe the following principles:

  • Use drinking water for cleaning.
  • Only use food-safe detergents and disinfectants.
  • Leave detergents and disinfectants in their original containers, and store them separately from food or packaging, to prevent any contamination
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions for concentration, temperature and application time when using detergents and disinfectants.
  • Do not store foodstuffs in the direct vicinity of places that are being cleaned.
  • Cloths, brushes, towels and other items that are used for cleaning and disinfecting must be kept clean and in good condition. In other words, they must be cleaned or replaced as necessary.
  • Start by carrying out a general clean: General dirt is either gathered up, removed or vacuumed away when dry, and/or removed with water when wet.
  • When cleaning, use hot drinking water and detergent in accordance with the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Rinse with hot water, so that food is not contaminated with any remaining detergent.
  • If you dry surfaces, use disposable paper towels, or a cloth that is changed daily and as required. "As required" here means when the cloth is wet or dirty.
  • Document the cleaning activities carried out. A checklist template can be downloaded here

Recommended frequencies for cleaning are provided here:

Processing rooms Frequency
Work surfaces / boards Daily after use and on change of product
Utensils, machines Daily after use and on change of product
Ovens, cooking containers, smoking equipment Depending on degree of soiling - daily or weekly
Containers for food Daily
Flooring, doors, door handles, walls Depending on degree of soiling - daily or weekly
Washbasins, drainage channels Daily
Waste bins Daily
Filters, flues, ventilation equipment Depending on degree of soiling - weekly or monthly
Storage area Frequency
Cold-storage rooms Monthly for wet-cleaning, weekly or as required for dry-cleaning
Freezer rooms Quarterly for wet-cleaning, weekly or as required for dry-cleaning
Flooring Weekly
Further areas Frequency
Counters (where applicable) Daily
Flooring of retail area (where applicable) Daily
Shelving in retail area (where applicable) Monthly and as required
Social rooms Weekly
Toilet facilities Daily
  • Only use disinfectants that are permitted for the food industry. Observe the application times, dosage and temperatures specified by the manufacturer.
  • Disinfecting can also be carried out at hot temperatures, e.g. in the dishwasher if temperatures exceed 70°C.
  • If it is necessary to rinse afterwards (according to the manufacturer's instructions), only use drinking water.
  • Document the disinfecting activities carried out. These can be documented in a cleaning log. You can download a cleaning log template here

Recommended frequencies for disinfecting are provided here:

Processing rooms Frequency
Work surfaces / boards Daily after use and on change of product
Utensils, machines Daily after use and on change of product
Containers for food Daily
Flooring, doors, door handles, walls After each clean
Washbasins, drainage channels Daily
Storage area Frequency
Cold-storage rooms After each wet-clean
Freezer rooms After each wet-clean
Further areas Frequency
Counters (where applicable) Daily
Toilet facilities Daily
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