FAQ: The effect of the COVID-19 coronavirus on plant production inspections

Only the sampling and inspection visits that are necessary and urgent will be carried out in plant production inspections. This applies to the Finnish Food Authority’s in-house inspectors, authorised inspectors and the inspectors of the Centres for Economic Development, Transport and the Environment.

Necessary and urgent plant production duties

  • Plant health
    • Withdrawals in cases of plant pests
    • Managing of plant pest situations 
    • Preparation and signing of phytosanitary certificates
    • Import inspections
    • Export inspections
  • Fertilizer control: Import licences
  • Seed inspection: The entire certification process, including the laboratory

Further information about the coronavirus on the Finnish Food Authority website.

Plant health

The Plant Health Unit of the Finnish Food Authority serves its customers even under exceptional circumstances by prioritising its duties (see the list above). Exceptional circumstances may cause delays, but the Finnish Food Authority will separately announce any significant exceptions in the service.

Export of plants

Health certificates are currently delivered primary via the Lappeenranta office. Certificates can be picked up from the Helsinki office if necessary, but this must be agreed upon well in advance.

Export inspections will be carried out as necessary, but changes have been made in inspection practices to prevent the spreading of the disease and to also protect the plant inspectors against potential infection.

Contact information: kasvienvienti@ruokavirasto.fi

Import of plants

As a result of the global exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus, import lots arrive at times and in quantities that are even more unpredictable than before. Our plant inspectors seek to arrange the timetables according to the arrival of import consignments to the best of their ability, but with regard to non-perishable consignments (e.g. timber), we request to prepare for longer waiting times in the conduct of the inspection.

Please keep in mind that importers other than those who import timber from Russia are required to scan a phytosanitary certificate as an attachment to the plant health entry document (CHED-PP) at least one day prior to the arrival of the import lot at the border.

Changes have also been made in import inspection practices to prevent the spreading of the disease and to also protect plant inspectors against potential infection.

Contact information

Fertilizer control

Despite the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus, the fertiliser control operations will continue as normally as possible. The Finnish Food Authority has advised that under exceptional circumstances, the authorities will only carry out necessary and urgent inspection visits. This means that for the time being, we have postponed inspection visits and sampling in accordance with the control plan.

The permits that are necessary for the conduct of operations, such as those related import and placing on the market, will be issued by means of document reviews and by using remote connections.

The laboratory used by the Finnish Food Authority will also serve its customers in exceptional circumstances, and all the laboratory services will be available.


Despite the exceptional situation, the entire seed certification process will be carried out normally, including laboratory work. Variety testing and field tests will also be carried in the normal manner.

The market surveillance of seed trade and wild oat surveillance will be primary carried out as document reviews or over remote connections.  

Page last updated 4/15/2020