Under Article 14 of the General Food Regulation, unsafe foods may not be placed on the market. A food is not considered safe if it is harmful to health or unfit for human consumption. When assessing safety, account is taken of normal conditions of use of the food and the information provided to the consumer on the avoidance of the harmful health effects of the food. When assessing the harmfulness of a food on health, account must be taken of
- any immediate and short- and long-term effects on the health of the person consuming the food,
- the potential cumulative toxic effects
- on subsequent generations and the
- particular health sensitivities of a specific consumer group where the food is intended for that consumer group.
Section 6 of the Finnish Food Act provides that the food business operator must ensure in its operations that the food is fit for human consumption in terms of its chemical, physical, microbiological and health properties and that it does not pose a hazard to human health. The operator must also ensure that the food or the information provided on it does not mislead the consumer.
In order to protect the consumer from potential health hazards, Food Information Regulation (EU No 1169/2011) provides that the food packaging must, where appropriate, include instructions for use which include a warning (Articles 9 and 27).
In addition, the instructions for use and/or warnings are provided for separately in some product-specific regulations. In other respects, it is up to the operator to assess the need for these indications, as the operator has a responsibility to ensure the safety of the food they produce or process.
Under the Food Information Regulation, labels must be placed in an easily visible place, using a clear font and fonts of sufficient size so as to ensure they are easily legible and understandable (minimum x font size of 1.2 mm).