Chemical analyses

Chemical and biochemical analyses

Finnish Food Authority is responsible for chemical and biochemical analyses of foodstuffs, animal feeds, fertiliser products and animal samples. These also include GMO analyses of foodstuffs and animal feeds, as well as sensory analyses of foodstuffs.

The unit is responsible for specialist tasks related to the analyses and national reference laboratory operations. 

Contact persons

Please contact by email:

Before sending samples to chemical analyses, concur with the contact person on the matter.


Finnish Food Authority analyses food for chemical elements: harmful heavy metals (arsenic, mercury, cadmium, chrome, lead, nickel, tin), and nutrients and micronutrients (calcium, copper, magnesium, manganese, sodium, iron, selenium, zinc). Such analyses are to ensure food safety.

Finnish Food Authority carries out recurrent studies for heavy metals, on tissues from production as well as wild animals. Examinations on heavy metals present in wild animals provide a view of the state of the environment and of possible changes that have occurred.

Contact persons

Before sending samples to chemical analyses, concur with the contact person on the matter.

Food may contain compounds detrimental to the health of the people. These might for various reasons have entered the food, for example via environmental contaminations of methylmercury in fish, or transferred from food packaging materials such as bisphenol-A in canned products. Food may also accumulate harmful compounds such as PAH compounds, furan, acrylamide and acetaldehyde during production process.

Contact persons

Mycotoxins are poisonous compounds generated by particular moulds. Typically, Fusarium moulds produce trichothecenes and zearalenone whereas Penicillium and Aspergillus moulds produce ochratoxin A.

Generally, bread grains and grain-based food are being analyzed for mycotoxins. In addition, pork kidneys are being analyzed for ochratoxin A and milk for aflatoxin M1.

Finnish Food Authority serve as national reference laboratory for mycotoxins together with Customs Laboratory. Finnish Food Authority also contributes to a number of national and international projects for studying mycotoxins. 

Contact persons

Finnish Food Authority analyses drug residues in food of animal origin under the annually executed national programme for monitoring foreign substances, as well as imported food from third countries.

Certain hormones can be used to treat individual production animals under the veterinarian control, but use of hormones as growth promoters is prohibited in Finland and all other EU countries.

Finnish Food Authority performs chemical analyses of approximately 40 prohibited substances, such as:

  • stilbenes and its derivatives
  • thyrostatic substances
  • natural and synthetic steroid hormones (for example estradiole, testosterone, nandrolone)
  • beta-agonists (for example clenbuterol, salbutamol)
  • chloramphenicol, nitrofurans, nitroimidazoles

Contact persons

Finnish Food Authority systematically monitors pesticides and environmental toxins accumulated in food as well those in tissues from production animals and wild animals. Monitoring prevents contaminated food from reaching consumers and provides information on the state of the environment and on changes that possibly have occurred because of the environmental toxins.

For the purposes of registering pesticides and the needs of market monitoring, Finnish Food Authority analyses the contents of active substances in ingredients and carry out certain physical tests.

Contact persons

Finnish Food Authority analyses food of animal origin under the annually executed national programme for monitoring foreign substances, food imported from third countries, and self-monitoring samples from production plants for drug residues. Such analyses are to ensure that food does not contain of drug residues exceeding the approved maximum amounts. Analyses are done for approximately 70 substances.

Such are, for example:

  • antibiotics
  • antiparasite drugs
  • coccidiostats
  • carbamates and pyrethroids
  • tranquilizers
  • non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • corticosteroids

Finnish Food Authority chemically analyses, for example, the following antibiotics used to treat animals: aminoglycosides, beta-lactamases, chinolones, lincosamides, sulfonamides, tetracyclines

Contact persons

Finnish Food Authority performs investigations related with the composition and quality of food. Food samples are being analysed for main components (moisture, dry matter, protein, fat, ash, dietary fiber).  Samples are also analysed for salt content, lactose, lactate, nitrite and micronutrients, fatty acid composition, phosphatase activity, carbohydrates, and biogenic amines, for example.

These investigations are part of Finnish Food Authority’s operations as a national reference laboratory.

Contact persons


Finnish Food Authority analyses food samples for fat-soluble vitamins (A, E, D), and thiamine. Generally, such analyses are carried out within research projects studying the physiological and pathological effects of vitamins and the lack of them on animals.

Contact persons

The Finnish Food Authority is developing an analysis of stable isotopes of light elements. The primary purpose is to detect food fraud. The Finnish Food Authority has the equipment to analyse the stable isotopes of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen and hydrogen in a liquid sample matrix and to analyse oxygen and hydrogen in a solid sample matrix. Up to now, its key areas of analysis have included stable isotope determinations of oxygen and hydrogen in liquid food. The results can be used to determine the geographical origin of foodstuffs, for example. The Finnish Food Authority is currently expanding its analysis capabilities to carbon and nitrogen isotope analyses in a solid sample matrix.

Analysis of heavy element stable isotopes

The Finnish Food Authority is studying the possibilities of using the strontium isotope method in Finland and is in the process of acquiring the necessary equipment in cooperation with the University of Helsinki, the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and the Geological Survey of Finland GTK. The methods are still under development.

Contact persons:

If you suspect that the strawberries you have purchased are not of Finnish origin, you can submit a sample of the strawberries to the Finnish Food Authority to verify the geographical origin of the sample. Please find below the instructions for sending strawberries to determine their geographical origin:

  • Sample size: about half a litre of strawberries
  • Complete the accompanying form for the sample and enclose it with the sample
  • Store the sample in a refrigerator or freezer. Deliver the sample to the Finnish Food Authority at the beginning of the week (Mon–Thu). Deliver it in a cooler so that the sample stays cold
  • Delivery address:

Chemistry Unit
Laboratories and Research
Finnish Food Authority
Mustialankatu 3, 00790 Helsinki

Contact person:

Simo Jokinen


Page last updated 2/20/2024