1 in 3 Geneva restaurants failed hygiene tests in 2023, report finds

1 in 3 Geneva restaurants failed hygiene tests in 2023, report finds

A new report from Swiss broadcaster RTS has revealed that one in three restaurants in Geneva failed to comply with hygiene standards in 2023. The number of serious incidents has now risen above levels seen before the pandemic, with entrepreneurs and restaurateurs blaming rising costs and a lack of workers.

One in three Geneva restaurants failed hygiene inspections

According to data from Canton Geneva, of the 2.500 inspections carried out last year, a third of food-serving venues in the city were rated as uncompliant with hygiene standards. All restaurants and cafes in Geneva are inspected for hygiene compliance at least every two years.

Of those violating standards, a total of 10 Geneva restaurants were forced to close temporarily or fully due to hygiene violations. Speaking to RTS, Geneva cantonal chemist Patrick Edder confirmed that the number of standard violations, serious cases and fines issued has risen beyond pre-pandemic levels.

Edder went on to explain that poor hygiene standards can have serious consequences, noting that “poorly stored food increases gastrointestinal risks.” “A particular bacteria like listeria, for example, can pose big problems for pregnant women, who may risk losing their child,” he warned. 

Rising costs and staff shortages to blame, argues broadcaster

In trying to explain why the number of unhygienic restaurants is on the rise, RTS suggested that rising costs and the continual shortage of staff in the city are to blame. One restaurateur who wished to remain anonymous told the broadcaster that they “can no longer afford to hire large teams... Employees have limited time [to clean] and I cannot ask them for more.”

To try and solve the problem, the Association of Cafetiers, Restaurateurs and Hoteliers of Geneva has announced that it will launch an online hygiene training course this spring. “Concerning unqualified people, we must provide training on the basics. Typically washing our hands, knowing how to receive goods, controlling and adhering to storage temperatures,” explained society training manager Stéphane Jan.

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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