Food health control

The role and objective of food control is to safeguard the health quality of food and to protect consumers from health hazards and economic losses caused by food.

Food control involves monitoring the primary production, manufacture, sale, handling, processing, serving, storage and transport of food, and dealing with licensing and notification issues. It also includes the control of food contact material activities, such as packaging materials.

Surveillance is carried out on a risk-based basis in accordance with the surveillance plan. The inspections included in the control plan are Oiva-compliant inspections. Oiva assesses the food safety of a business with a smiley face.

You can usually find the company’s Oiva report at the entrance to the food premises and on the website.

Please contact the Health Inspectorate if.

  • you suspect you have food poisoning
  • set up a food premises
  • changes in the operation of the food premises
  • you cease or suspend the operation of a food premises
  • change of operator of the food premises or establishment
  • work in primary production
  • you may place food contact materials on the market
  • you are planning a first entry operation, i.e. you intend to receive and/or transport food of animal origin to Finland from other EU Member States and certain special agreement countries.
  • sell or serve food from a mobile food premises
  • you have a complaint about the quality of the food or the food establishment

The Health Inspectorate also provides advice and guidance to operators and consumers.

Registration or approval of primary food production and food business

Primary production operators and food or food contact material operators must submit a registration notification to the health control authority under the Food Act or apply for approval for a food business. Notification must also be made in the event of suspension, cessation or change of operator.

Food premises to be registered

Food premises means any building or apartment or part thereof, or any other indoor or outdoor area, where food intended for sale or other supply is prepared, stored, transported, marketed, served or otherwise handled, excluding a place of primary production.

A so-called virtual food premises (used solely for the sale and distribution of food, for example, without the food being present in the premises) also requires registration. Registration of a virtual premises is made with the food control authority of the municipality where the premises are located or, if the municipality is unclear, with the food control authority of the operator’s municipality of origin.

The notification is primarily made via the environmental health service’s electronic service

More information and guidance on setting up your own food business can be found on the Food Authority’s website

No notification of a food premises is required if.

  • the food safety risks of the activity are low , and
  • the food business is part of another business activity (e.g. a small sale of sweets in connection with another activity), or
  • the operator is a private person (e.g. selling a homemade bun at a market), or
  • the activity is not a commercial activity (e.g. running a sports club café at an event)

Food premises or establishments requiring approval

If a food premises handles food of animal origin prior to retail sale, the premises must be approved by the supervisory authority before the start of operations or a substantial change to operations (establishment). The establishment’s self-monitoring plan must be submitted to the Authority as an annex to the application for approval of the establishment. At the time of approval, the authority will assess whether the self-monitoring plan for the establishment is sufficient to control the risks.

You may not start or substantially change the operation of an installation without the approval of the authority, which is usually obtained from the municipal supervisory authority. However, slaughterhouses and game handling establishments and meat establishments linked to them are approved by the Food Authority.

More information and guidance on setting uo a food establishment can be found on the Food Authority’s website

Primary production

Primary production means the production, rearing, growing, cultivation, harvesting, milking and all stages of animal production before slaughter.

It also includes hunting, fishing and gathering wild products. Primary production includes dairy and egg production, beef cattle rearing, fishing and fish farming, growing of vegetables and fruits, cereals and mushrooms, honey production, gathering of wild berries and mushrooms and hunting.

The transport of live animals and the transport of primary products other than milk to the next point in the food chain, such as an establishment or retail outlet, is also primary production. In addition, the direct supply of primary products to the consumer, which poses a low risk to food safety, is considered primary production.

Primary production does not include the transport of milk away from the place of primary production, the further processing of primary products or the slaughter of animals. Activities such as making cheese or jam, drying herbs, peeling vegetables, gutting fish on land or filleting fish are not primary production activities, but are activities that are part of a food establishment.

More information and guidance can be found on the Food Authority’s website

When is a declaration of primary production not required?

A declaration of primary production is not required for hunting, the supply of wild game to the consumer or the collection of wild plants, mushrooms or, for example, sap. Nor is a declaration required for the primary production of plants and mushrooms if the operator is a private person or the activity cannot be regarded as a commercial activity.