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

  • Chemical analytics, Head of Unit, Annikki Welling, tel. 040 481 2270  
  • Inorganic chemistry, Head of Section, Eija-Riitta Venäläinen, tel. 050 434 8378
  • Composition and origin, Head of Section, Mervi Rokka, tel. 040 062 2371
  • Organic residues, Marja Raatikainen, tel. 040 132 7496
  • Quality Manager, Marjo Kolmonen, tel. 050 569 5477

Please contact by email: firstname.lastname@foodauthority.fi
Before sending samples to chemical analyses, concur with the contact person on the matter.

Chemical elements

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

  • Eija-Riitta Venäläinen, tel. 050 434 8378
  • Satu Mykkänen, tel. 050 560 9982

Before sending samples to chemical analyses, concur with the contact person on the matter.
email: firstname.lastname@foodauthority.fi

Harmful chemicals

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

  • Marja Raatikainen, tel. 040 132 7496
  • Pertti Koivisto,tel. 040 481 1595
  • Mirja Hokkanen tel. 040 489 3406

Mycotoxins

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

  • Marjo Kolmonen, tel. 050 569 5477
  • Marja Raatikainen, tel. 040 132 7496

Hormones and other prohibited substances

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 (e.g. estradiole, testosterone, nandrolone)
  • beta-agonists (e.g. clenbuterol, salbutamol)
  • chloramphenicol, nitrofurans, nitroimidazoles

Contact persons

  • Leena Saari, tel. 040 489 3416
  • Marjo Jauhiainen, tel. 050 406 7496

Residues of pesticides and PCB

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

  • Kati Hakala, tel. 040 489 3404
  • Marjaana Nousiainen tel. 050 356 5105

Drug residues

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

  • Anneli Niemi, tel. 040 489 3413
  • Leena Saari, tel. 040 489 3416

Main components

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

  • Tiina Ritvanen, tel. 040 489 3415
  • Mervi rokka, tel. 040 062 2371
  • Aulikki Raitanen, tel. 040 489 3405
  • Helena Pastell, tel. 050 375 0968

Vitamins

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

  • Mervi Rokka, tel. 040 0622 371
  • Aulikki Raitanen, tel. 040 489 3405