The Danes have seen smileys on inspection reports, in all their retail food enterprises since 2001. The three different smileys signal how well the enterprise complies with food regulations.
In October 2023, the new smiley label was implemented. The smiley label, showing the three latest inspection results, must be displayed for consumers to read, before they decide to enter a shop or a restaurant.
The inspection reports must be made easily available on the enterprises' own websites.
The philosophy behind the Smiley Scheme is for consumers to make more informed choices on where to shop and to give food enterprises an incentive to secure a high food safety.
Food establishments are responsible
In Denmark, all food establishments are responsible for complying with the food regulations. At unannounced inspections, the public food inspectors check, how well the enterprises are at this.
All shops, restaurants and other enterprises selling foods and beverages are subject to inspections by The Danish Veterinary and Food Administration.
Read more about inspection of food establishments
What do the smileys symbolize?
There are three different smileys. They symbolise:
Enjoining order, injunction or prohibitary order
Administrative penalties, reported to the police, or approval withdrawn.
Enterprises with hazardous health conditions are closed down until problems are fixed.
The smiley is determined by the worst result
At each inspection a number of areas are checked, and assigned a result (1 - 4). All results, and all the inspectors' remarks, are published on the inspection report. The smiley for the inspection is determined by the worst of the results.
Enterprises with poor results will get two follow-up inspections, paid by the enterprise.