Frequently Asked Questions

The Frequently Asked Questions page contains answers to questions submitted to the Food Market Ombudsman that are related to the Ombudsman's activities. Please check for an answer to your question on this page before contacting us.

You can contact the Ombudsman's office via the feedback form, by e-mail or by telephone. Contact information for the office can be found here.

 

What does the Food Market Ombudsman do?

The Food Market Ombudsman’s duties include issuing recommendations, opinions and proposals related to the functioning of the food supply chain and providing information and advice on good business practices.

In addition, the Ombudsman monitors compliance with the requirements concerning the correct form and content of food supply chain agreements and with the prohibitions on unfair terms and practices and inappropriate procedures.

What are the matters in relation to which I can contact the Ombudsman?

The Ombudsman can be contacted in all matters that are related to the unfair implementation of contract terms between traders in the agricultural and food industries.

A matter concerning the infringement of a provision may be referred to the Food Market Ombudsman for consideration by:

  1. a party to the agreement;
  2. an operator whose operations are targeted in the practical application of the agreement or whose operations may be adversely affected; or
  3. a registered association that supervises the interests of traders.

The Food Market Ombudsman may also take up a matter referred to in subsection 1 up of their own initiative if it concerns an issue that is important for the functioning of the food supply chain.

Responding to enquiries produces valuable information for the Office of the Ombudsman on the functioning of the market and compliance with legislation. It is important that all shortcomings related to the food market are brought to the attention of the Ombudsman.

How are companies and operators covered by the Food Market Act defined?

The provisions laid down in the Food Market Act apply to companies that trade in agricultural products and foodstuffs.The list of agricultural products covered by the Act can be checked in the Annex to the Regulation on the common organisation of the markets in agricultural products 1308/2013. The list of foodstuffs referred to in the Food Market Act can be checked in Article 2 of the Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

The provisions on the form and minimum content of the contracts referred to in the Food Market Act apply to medium-sized enterprises that conclude contracts and enter tenders for the purchase of agricultural products or foodstuffs. A medium-sized company as referred to in the Food Market Act is one that employs 50-250 persons and has an annual turnover or balance sheet total of more than EUR 10 million and an annual turnover of no more that EUR 50 million or a balance sheet total of no more than EUR 43 million.

However, the Food Market Act does not apply to contracts or practices concluded with traders engaged in accommodation and catering activities referred to in the Act on Accommodation and Restaurant Services (308/2006).

How do I know if the matter I am handling is connected to the Food Market Act?

The Food Market Act applies to agreements and practices between traders related to the trade of food and agricultural products. The list of agricultural products covered by the Act can be checked in the Annex to the Regulation on the common organisation of the markets in agricultural products 1308/2013. The list of foodstuffs referred to in the Food Market Act can be checked in Article 2 of the Regulation (EC) No. 178/2002 of the European Parliament and of the Council.

If the matter concerns food trade between a consumer and the trader, the Food Market Ombudsman has no competence to resolve the matter. In matters concerning trade between the consumer and the trader, you can contact the Consumer Ombudsman at the Finnish Consumer and Competition Authority. The supervision of the Competition Act is within the competence of the Finnish Consumer and Competition Authority.

For more information on food safety, see the Finnish Food Authority’s website.

Price regulation does not fall within the competence of the Food Market Ombudsman.