The H Badge: Quality Assurance in Food Hygiene

The “H Badge” is a recognition awarded to food establishments that meet high standards of food hygiene. This badge is a seal of quality that ensures food is prepared, stored, and served safely, thereby reducing the risk of foodborne illness.

It is important to note that the “H Badge” is 100% preventive and seeks to reduce the incidence of foodborne diseases in domestic and foreign tourists, as well as improve Mexico’s image worldwide with respect to food security. In addition, the H Badge is valid for one year and must be renewed to maintain it.

The “H Badge” program emerged in 1988 and started its operational activities in 1990. On May 21, 2001, it was published in the Official Gazette of the Federation as Mexican standard NMX-F-605- NORMEX-2000. The standard in question was created through the Subcommittee on Hygienic Management in the Food Service Prepared for Obtaining the “H” Badge and had the collaboration of several institutions and companies, including the Federal Commission for Protection Against Sanitary Risks (COFEPRIS), the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), the Pan American University, the Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR), and other entities.

This Mexican standard promotes and encourages good hygiene and sanitation practices in the primary and secondary production chain. Foodborne illnesses (ETA) affect the entire population, so the food and beverage service provider in hotels and restaurants has the responsibility to do so in a hygienic and sanitary manner, to prevent their customers from getting an illness or food poisoning, and for this, they must apply hygiene and sanitation practices, which lead to a continuous improvement in the quality of the products and services they offer.

Hygienic food handling is essential to obtain the “H” Badge. This involves following a series of practices and procedures from receiving the raw material to preparing and serving the food. During all stages of the process, it is important to follow hygiene practices, such as cleaning and disinfection of cooking and food processing areas, as well as proper handling of the same to avoid cross-contamination, and the use of safe and authorized chemicals.

Upon receipt of the raw material, it is essential to verify the quality of the food, ensuring that it is in good condition and meets the appropriate storage requirements, in order to maintain its freshness and prevent the proliferation of bacteria. Perishable foods should be stored in refrigeration chambers at an appropriate temperature, while dry foods should be stored in dry and clean places, free of moisture and pests.

Likewise, cleanliness in the kitchen is crucial to maintaining high standards of food hygiene. All surfaces and work areas should be cleaned regularly, and spilled food should be disposed of immediately. Kitchen towels should be washed frequently and changed regularly.

The use of chemicals in the kitchen should be done with caution. These products must be clearly labeled and separated from food to avoid contamination. In addition, personnel must be trained in the safe handling of chemicals and wear personal protective equipment when necessary. On the other hand, staff hygiene is another important aspect of the hygienic handling of food. Personnel must follow proper personal hygiene practices, such as handwashing and the use of appropriate protective clothing and equipment. Additionally, equipment and utensils used in food preparation must be cleaned and disinfected before use and after each work interruption. Subsequently, they must be protected from contamination when stored or not in use and thus avoid cross-contamination.

At Sunset World Group, food hygiene is a fundamental pillar of our company. Therefore, we maintain high standards in all our operations to protect the health of our members and guests, which guarantees the safety of food in our food establishments and makes us holders of the “H Badge.” Additionally, the programs of activities and dining options at our six hotels have been updated and expanded, with the aim of offering exceptional vacation experiences for the whole family.