The exceptional situation caused by the war in Ukraine hampers the supply of certain raw materials from Ukraine and Russia. Due to availability problems, food business operators may have to make sudden changes to ingredients, in which case the composition of the food may not fully correspond to the information provided on the Finnish and Swedish labels. For this reason, the Finnish Food Authority grants relaxations to labelling in Finland so that existing packaging materials can be utilised further. However, food safety must not be compromised, and the consumers’ right to adequate information must be ensured.
Raw materials in food can be substituted by other raw materials or raw materials of minor significance can be excluded. There is currently a need for substitute raw materials, especially in vegetable oils, which can lead to changes in ingredients, e.g. in biscuits and chips. The consumer shall be informed of the change in stores. The reason for this exceptional procedure will be placed on a notice near the packaged food or in another easily perceptible and clear manner.
If the substitute ingredient is generally a substance that causes allergies or intolerances, it must always be indicated on the labelling and in the online store in connection with the product.
Allergens other than the most common ones may also cause allergy and intolerance symptoms. Companies must report changes in ingredients and substitute raw materials at least on their company's website and provide information to the store.
The actual nutritional information of the food must also be reported if the substitute raw material significantly changes the nutritional content of the product, for example the fatty acid composition, in a detrimental direction. This can happen if sunflower oil is replaced with peanut oil, for example. Consumers can also ask the store about ingredient changes and substitute raw materials.
Country of origin must be indicated correctly
When the country of origin of a food or an ingredient is indicated on the labelling, that information shall be correct even in exceptional circumstances. All food must be traceable.
The decision of the Food Agency applies to conventional foods. Labelling facilitations for other foods, such as food supplements and baby foods, are decided on a product-by-product basis in municipal food control inspection.
- Decision of the Food Agency on the facilitation of mandatory labelling of certain foods in the exceptional situation caused by the war in Ukraine (pdf, in Finnish)
- Information on substances that cause allergies and hypersensitivity in general (in Finnish)
Minna Anthoni, Senior Officer, tel. +358 40 137 9854
Tuulikki Lehto, Senior Officer, tel. +358 50 558 2696