The Finnish Government has amended the Food Act (23/2006) according to the government bill (34/2013), with the amendments the government seeks to improve compliance of national legislation with requirements of EU law as well as to address national legislative needs. The main amendments were made in three areas: primary production, quality monitoring and traceability of products.
Firstly, with regard to primary production, the amendments set forth a requirement for a prior authoritative approval of establishments producing sprouts. Previously, the Act included merely a notification procedure for certain types of primary production. The new requirement for an approval arises from EU law originating in the previous sprout-related food poisoning epidemics in several European countries.
Secondly, provisions regarding voluntary food product quality systems shall be added to the law. The Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira may, upon application, grant an approval for such a quality system if it is shown to comply with the standards laid out in the EC Regulation (1974/2006). Further provisions on reporting and unbiased inspection of the quality system are also given.
Thirdly, the Act shall be amended with provisions on traceability of fish products, such as the fishing date, the trade name of the fish product and whether the product has been frozen. The goal is to improve fish product traceability throughout the supply chain all the way to the consumer. In addition, the Act defines the authorities supervising the traceability of fish products and sets forth an obligation to inform the consumers.
The amendments have entered into force on 1 June 2013.