Changing an establishment’s operations due to the ongoing state of emergency

Are food industry operators required to file a food premises notification when starting online selling?

  • If a food industry operator wants to expand to online sales, they must first contact the local municipal food control authorities. A separate food establishment notification does not need to the filed due to changes in operations.
  • Things to note on product labelling in online sales:
    • In online sales, all mandatory food information (in Finnish) must be provided for prepacked and non-prepacked food items, with the exception of variable information such as date and batch number. Variable information must be provided when delivering the product.

Are operators required to notify local food control authorities when shutting down operations?

If operations are shut down for less than 6 months, the authorities do not need to be notified under the current state of emergency (updated 20 March 2020). See here for contact information of municipalities.

Can I prepare take-away meals for sale to consumers in my home without a food premises notification while the state of emergency is ongoing?

If you prepare meals for sale in your home, you need to file a food premises notification to your municipality’s food control authorities informing of the food establishment operation. After filing the notification, food inspectors may visit to provide advice and instructions or supervise the operation if necessary. As a rule, such operations are subject to the same requirements as other food premises.

See information on Food handling and information to be provided on food on this webbpage.

Due to the ongoing state of emergency, however, the food premises notification need not be filed until four weeks after starting the operation. The operation can start immediately after filing the notification.

Are you changing your operations due to the state of emergency?

Food industry operators must always follow the requirements of food legislation. If you need to change your operations due to the ongoing state of emergency, you should primarily contact your local food control authorities. Be sure to also note the following:

Suitability of premises for the operation

  • The premises must be suitable for their intended purpose.
  • The premises must be equipped with a sufficient number of water fixtures and spaces for cold storage and food handling.
  • Note that if you need to refrigerate food, you must have sufficient capacity for refrigeration.

Workplace hygiene

  • Always ensure good workplace hygiene when handling food. Avoid cross-contamination when handling raw and cooked food. If you use the same utensils and cutting boards, remember to wash them thoroughly between each work step.
  • Take care of good hand hygiene. Remember to wash hands between each work step and always after bathroom or smoke breaks and other unclean activities. If you have cuts or scrapes in your hand, be sure to wear protective gloves. When wearing protective gloves, switch to a clean pair sufficiently often and make sure that your hands are clean (in Finnish)
  • Wear appropriate protective clothing and headwear. Cover or take off visible jewellery.
  • Make sure that kitchen surfaces are cleaned between work steps
  • Take out garbage from the food premises at least once a day. Wash garbage containers sufficiently often.
  • Do not use wooden utensils or cutting boards. Kitchen tools should be machine washable.

Temperature regulation

Temperature requirements must be followed under all circumstances.

Ensure the correct food temperature in all work steps: reception → storage → handling → heating → refrigeration → serving → delivery

Temperature requirements for food stored cold

  • Fresh fish products packed in vacuum or gas packaging should be stored at 0°–+3°C.
  • Other prepacked and non-prepacked fresh fish products, cooked shellfish and molluscs and thawed unprocessed fish products should be stored at the temperature of thawing ice (0°–+2°C)
  • Cold-smoked and freshly cured fish products and processed fish products packed in vacuum or gas packaging should be stored at 0°–+3°C.
  • Ground meat and ground liver may be stored at up to +4°C.
  • Easily perishable milk-based products whose production involves pasteurisation or an equivalent process may be stored at up to +8°C.
  • Other easily perishable foods, including milk, cream, sprouts, chopped vegetables, live mussels, sushi, easily perishable fish products other than those listed above in paragraph 1 and fish pies (kalakukko) listed in paragraph 5, may be stored at up +6°C.

Food stored hot

  • Food that is sold or served hot must be kept at a temperature of at least +60°C during storage, display and serving.
  • Hot food must be kept heated also during transport

Refrigerating food

  • Make sure that you have sufficient refrigerating capacity for cooling food. Refrigerators intended for storing food may be used to cool small amounts of food. Most standard refrigerators lack the capacity to cool larger amounts of food according to the requirements described below.
  • Refrigerate food quickly in four hours from +60°C to below +6°C if the intention is to cool the food for later use or deliver the food cold to customers.

Follow the shelf life periods of food and understand the difference between ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates

  • Keep in mind that food may not be served or used to prepare other foods after the food’s expiration date has passed.
  • Products can be sold or used after their best before date has passed, provided that their quality has not deteriorated materially.

Handling, managing and labelling substances causing allergies or intolerances                        

The food industry operator is responsible for ensuring that all products put out to market are safe. A food is not considered to be safe if it is dangerous to health or unfit for human consumption, for example. If the list of ingredients is missing information about allergens contained in the food, the food must be generally considered to be dangerous to health. For this reason, it is important that allergens and handled and managed throughout the food’s production process and that the risks involved are identified. When managing allergens, you should take into consideration issues such as the contents of raw ingredients, storage, cleaning practices in production facilities, contamination during production, and labelling for the end product. In Finnish:

Food information to be provided

As the food industry operator responsible for the food product, it is your duty to label the product in order to ensure that the information provided about the food is accurate and sufficient and does not mislead consumers. For more on what information must be provided about food, see here (in Finnish):

Instructions on the safe use of food

Responsibility for food safety rests primarily with food producers, processors and retailers. Despite this, it is possible for food to contain hazards such as harmful microbes. In order to prevent health hazards, certain foods should be labelled as not suitable for high-risk groups, for example, or they should include additional instructions, such as a recommendation to heat the food before use.  For instructions on the safe use of food, see the Finnish Food Authority website. 

 

 

Page last updated 4/9/2020