Mutual recognition aims to promote market access for products that are not subject to EU harmonisation legislation. According to the mutual recognition principle, goods lawfully marketed in one Member State must, as a rule, have access to the markets of all Member States, even if the goods do not fully comply with those national technical and qualitative rules governing production of the Member State.
Prior authorisation procedure
The operator must apply to the Food Authority for prior authorisation to place goods on the market on the basis of mutual recognition. A free-form application must contain the following information:
- Name and contact details of the applicant
- Name and contact details of the manufacturer
- Billing address and business ID for the cost of processing the application
- Legislation under which the product is lawfully marketed in another Member State
- The raw materials used in the manufacture of the product and their origin
- Description of the manufacturing process
- Information about the characteristics of the product
- The most recent results of analyses conducted on the product in a laboratory approved by the competent authority for at least the following analyses:
- The fertiliser properties of the product
- Hazardous metal concentrations (link to hazardous metals)
- Selenium content in fertilisers containing selenium (link to selenium)
- Hygiene results of organic fertilisers for Salmonella and E. coli (link to the hygiene requirements)
- The intended use and quantities of the product
- The approval number of the manufacturing plant where the product contains animal by-products
- The required product label in Finnish
- Registration information or certificate from the competent authority regarding the lawful marketing of the product in another Member State
The maximum period for processing the application is two months. The processing commences once all the required information has been submitted. The application must be drawn up in Finnish, Swedish or English. An application for mutual recognition can be made by letter or e-mail to Finnish Food Authority, e-mail: lannoite.ilmoitukset(a)foodauthority.fi.
On the basis of the information provided in the application, an administrative decision is taken on the matter, after which the products may be placed on the market. A fee for the handling of the case and the decision is levied on an hourly basis in accordance with the Decree of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry on Charges Payable to the Finnish Food Authority (1146/2018; amendments up to 986/2019 included).
The Food Authority may, for justified reasons, deny or restrict market access of the product covered by the application. Such reasons include the protection of human, animal and plant health and life, as well as the protection of the environment. In Finland, for fertilisers, harmful substances, pathogens, quarantine pests and diseases, and high levels of selenium have been considered as barriers to entry into the market.
In addition to the applicant, a refusal is also notified without delay to the Commission and the other Member States of the European Union. The decision may be appealed to the administrative court. The appeal instructions are attached to the decision. Alternatively, the case may be referred to SOLVIT for a decision. Information on SOLVIT is available at https://tem.fi/en/solvit1.
Regulation (EU) 2019/515 of the European Parliament and of the Council (https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A32019R0515)