Hygiene Audit : Get the Prestigious Safe Place Label

Hygiene plays an important role in the food sector. It not only ensures the safety of the products consumed but also contributes to customer satisfaction and compliance with current standards. So how do you verify that your company adheres to the required hygiene standards? This is where the importance of the hygiene audit comes in. A hygiene audit consists of a methodical and neutral evaluation of your hygiene and food safety processes. It reveals your strengths and areas for improvement, offers corrective solutions and highlights your commitment to hygiene.

What is a hygiene audit ?

A hygiene audit is an independent and thorough evaluation of your hygiene and food safety devices, to ensure that they comply with the products quality standards regulations in force and the guidelines and procedures you have established.

It plays a role in preventing risks of food contamination, avoiding customer dissatisfaction and avoiding potential administrative or judicial sanctions.

To achieve this goal, a hygiene audit is usually carried out by a specialized external entity, such as TÜV SÜD, recognized for its proven expertise and international certification. The audit process covers various aspects of your food safety and hygiene system, including :

  • Space configurations
  • Cleaning and disinfection protocols
  • Management of provisions and stocks
  • Tracking and archiving of documents
  • Procedures to follow in an emergency
  • Use of equipment and facilities
  • Standards for the display and labelling of food products
  • Hygiene practices of the staff
  • Pest control strategies
  • Techniques for handling foodstuffs
  • Keeping products at the right temperature
  • Staff supervision, training and awareness programs

Upon completion of this audit, you will receive a comprehensive report detailing your organization’s level of compliance, highlighting your strengths and areas for improvement and recommending appropriate corrective actions. In addition, the audit body can award you a certification, such as the Safe Place Label, attesting to the excellence of your practices in terms of hygiene and food safety.

Why carry out a hygiene audit for your company ?

A hygiene audit is essential for any company wishing to benefit from economic benefits and improve its reputation. This audit allows :

  • Ensure the safety of food products at every stage (production, processing, distribution, service), thus reducing the risk of food poisoning, complaints, or legal disputes.
  • Be in compliance with the standards and regulations specific to your sector, eliminating the risks of sanctions, fines or closure of the establishment.
  • Improve the efficiency of production, storage, transportation and sales processes to reduce costs, increase profitability and reduce waste and waste.
  • Enhance your brand image and strengthen your competitiveness, which helps to retain existing customers, attract new customers, increase your turnover and explore new markets.

A hygiene audit paves the way for obtaining certifications or quality labels, such as the Safe Place Label, which underline your commitment to food safety and hygiene. These awards serve as proof of reliability and seriousness with your customers, suppliers, partners and regulators.

It plays an important role in raising awareness and training your teams on hygiene practices. It strengthens their commitment, motivation, enriches the corporate culture and improves the working environment.

Who is the hygiene audit for ?

The hygiene audit is designed for all companies working in the food sector. Whether you are in the production, processing, distribution or sale of food, this assessment is relevant to you. It is essential for both commercial catering establishments - such as restaurants, cafeterias and catering services - and collective catering establishments, including canteens, hospitals and retirement homes. It is also intended for all professionals in the food industry : butchers, butchers, bakers, pastry chefs, grocery stores, cheese makers, fishmongers and many others.

Some food companies are legally required to carry out a hygiene audit, in particular those requiring a health approval or an IFS certification. In addition, this audit is strongly recommended for other players in the sector, to ensure compliance with the hygiene package guidelines, including the HACCP system. The latter is necessary to control the risks related to hygiene and food safety.

Thus, the hygiene audit is an indispensable tool for all companies in the food sector, concerned to guarantee the quality and safety of their offers, to meet regulatory standards, satisfy their customers and stand out in the competitive market.

Which organizations offer hygiene audits ?

Different bodies offer hygiene audit services adapted to the specific needs of each sector of activity. These audits are essential to ensure compliance with hygiene standards and obtain relevant certifications. These organizations can assist you :


HySeQua is dedicated to hygiene and food safety. They offer HACCP audits, hygiene audits, white audits for ISO 22000 certification and microbiological analyses. Oriented towards food manufacturers, restaurateurs, caterers and craftsmen of the food trade, HySeQua guides you in the implementation of the necessary corrective actions, enriched by the submission of a thorough audit report.

Mérieux NutriSciences

A major player in food safety, Mérieux NutriSciences offers audits, health inspections, analyses, traceability and training in food hygiene. Their support is aimed at restaurants, hotels, caterers, etc., with the aim of facilitating official controls and certification of quality systems, such as the Safe Place Label.


Eurofins, an international network of laboratories, provides hygiene audit services, HACCP audit, IFS audit, BRC, among others. Intended for producers, processors, distributors of the food industry, it allows an accurate diagnosis to identify the strengths and areas for improvement in hygiene and food safety.


The CPias, specialized in the prevention of infections associated with care, offers audits in hospital hygiene, professional practices and processes. It is aimed at healthcare institutions and medical professionals to assess the quality of hygiene practices and prevent infections.

What are the essential steps to obtain a hygiene audit ?

The procedure for obtaining a hygiene audit requires adequate preparation, the choice of a competent audit body, on-site evaluation and the implementation of the recommendations from the audit.

The key steps for a successful hygiene audit are :

1. Prepare the Hygiene Audit

Before approaching an auditing body, make sure that your company has a comprehensive health control plan, including a HACCP system, hygiene protocols, datasheets and various registrations. Training and raising your staff’s awareness of hygiene practices are also important, as is a periodic monitoring of compliance with hygiene rules in the workplace.

Then identify the type of audit you want, the repository to follow and, if necessary, the certification you want.

2. Select an auditing body

Among the many organizations offering hygiene audits, it is essential to select one that has a solid reputation, international accreditations and expertise specific to your sector. Reviewing and comparing offers, costs and getting accurate quotes are essential steps. An organization like TÜV SÜD, recognized for its competence and its adaptation to the needs of various sectors, could be an option to consider.

3. Conduct Hygiene Audit

The audit usually takes place in one day, at the end of which the auditor examines the different components of your food hygiene and safety system : premises, equipment, products, procedures, documentation, etc. Samples and analyses can be done and your staff can be interviewed. You will receive a detailed audit report highlighting the auditor’s observations and recommendations.

4. Follow the recommendations

The audit report details your system’s compliance and non-compliance with current standards, highlighting strengths and weaknesses. It is important to take the auditor’s recommendations seriously and to develop an action plan to address identified variances. Monitoring the effectiveness of the measures taken and a regular renewal audit, annual or semi-annual as required, are also recommended.

How much does a hygiene audit cost ?

The cost of a hygiene audit varies according to several parameters, such as the type and sector of audit, the size of the company, the complexity of its operations, the reference used and the certification, among others. Thus, it is difficult to determine a single price for a hygiene audit. However, based on certain criteria, it is possible to estimate a range of prices.

Below are estimates of hygiene audit costs, based on business type and audit :

Hygiene audit for traders and craftsmen

Merchants and artisans, including butchers, bakers, pastry chefs, and grocery stores, will find the costs of a hygiene audit ranging from 500 € to 1500 € HT. This mainly depends on the number of audit days and the number of sites involved. For example, LaboQuali offers hygiene audit services from €700 excluding taxes per day, requiring a minimum of two days of audit.

Hygiene audit for restaurants and caterers

Restaurateurs and caterers can expect a cost ranging from €1,000 to €2,500 excluding VAT for a hygiene audit, influenced by the number of days and sites to audit, as well as the type of certification or label desired. HySeQua, for example, offers audits from €1,000 HT per day for a minimum of two audit days, while Mérieux NutriSciences starts its rates at €1,500 HT per day, requiring three audit days minimum.

Hygiene audit for food manufacturers

The food industry will have to foresee a cost of hygiene audit between 2000 € and 5000 € HT. The price varies according to the number of audit days, the number of sites, the type of certification or label targeted and the reference used. Eurofins, for example, offers hygiene audits from 2000 € HT per day with three days of audit as a basis and IFS or BRC audits initiating at 3000 € HT per day for a minimum of four days.

Hygiene audit for health and medico-social facilities

Health and medico-social institutions, such as hospitals, clinics, and retirement homes, will see the cost of a hygiene audit between 3000 € and 6000 € HT. This rate is influenced by the number of days required for the audit, the number of sites to be audited and the type of audit performed. For example, CPias offers hospital hygiene audits from €3,000 excluding tax per day with a minimum of four audit days and professional practice audits starting at €4,000 excluding tax per day for a minimum of five audit days.

Is there a renewal to be done regarding the hygiene audit ?

Conducting a hygiene audit is not a one-time operation; rather, it is an ongoing process that requires constant attention and renewal. Health and food safety standards and regulations change regularly, forcing your company to adjust to new rules and practices.

This regular verification is essential not only to keep and improve your performance, prevent risks, but also to enhance the brand image of your company.

The frequency of the renewal of your hygiene audit varies according to the type of audit, the standards applied and the certifications or labels targeted. Examples of recommended renewal frequencies include :


The HACCP audit, based on the principles of the "hygiene package", requires food companies to set up a sanitary control plan including a HACCP system. This type of audit must be renewed annually to ensure the effectiveness and compliance of the HACCP system with regulatory requirements.

ISO 22000 Audit

Related to ISO 22000, the ISO 22000 audit sets the criteria for a food safety management system. The renewal takes place every three years to ensure that the management system complies with the company’s standards and objectives. Monitoring audits are conducted annually between renewal audits to ensure continued compliance.

IFS or BRC Audit

IFS or BRC audits, based respectively on the IFS Food and BRC Global Standard for Food Safety standards, define the quality and safety criteria for food products. These audits must be renewed annually to preserve the company’s certification and performance level. This renewal is necessary for companies aiming to export their products to certain countries, such as Germany or the United Kingdom.

Label Safe Place Audit

Based on the Label Safe Place standard, the audit assesses the quality of hygiene and food safety in restaurants. Renewal, which takes place every two years, is essential to maintain the label and the trust of customers. Although optional, it allows to distinguish itself from the competition and to obtain a better visibility.