National control project for food salt and nutrition in 2019 - 2020 (project extended until 30 June 2021)
23.5.2022 Report in Finnish (Abstract in English): Valtakunnallinen suolan ja ravintoarvon valvontaprojekti 2019-2021 (pdf)
In 2019, the Finnish Food Authority launched a nationwide control project for salt and nutrition labelling. The project focused on non-prepacked and prepacked foods covered by the national high salt content label. Today, both the added salt and the sodium content of other raw materials, calculated as salt (salt = sodium x 2.5), are calculated as the total salt content of a food).
The inspections were carried out in the municipalities as the so-called OIVA inspections; evaluation points 13.1 and 13.2. (separate inspection form prepared). The project also involved sampling (total of 120 samples).
The inspection sites were:
- points of retail sale (non-prepacked)
- food preparation sites (prepacked) and
- imports, customs and border control of food of animal origin (prepacked imported food).
- The inspections were carried out between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2021.
- The samples were collected between 1 August 2019 and 30 May 2021.
Salt content survey of food in 2010
At the end of 2010, Evira (now the Finnish Food Authority) investigated how the correctness of the salt content declared on food packaging is ensured by the operators' own check and regulatory control. The survey was completed by 35 municipal control units and 4 Evira inspection veterinarians.
In the studies of the years under review (2008-2010), the salt content exceeded the salt content declared on the packaging in an alarming number of cases. According to more than a third of the responding municipalities / veterinarians, excesses of the declared salt content were observed in the operators' own-check studies. Regulatory investigations also revealed excesses. Of particular note is the excess salt content of bread, which is concerning as bread plays an important role in consumers' daily diets.
Although the control authorities' response rate was relatively low (just under 30%), the survey nevertheless indicates that own check of salt content and regulatory control need to be stepped up. Consumers must be able to rely on the correctness of salt declarations to make the right choices for their health.