Virus investigations

From the beginning of 2019, the Finnish Food Authority’s Virology Unit accepts food and surface samples that relate to a suspected outbreak caused by a food-borne virus. Samples taken by the supervisory authority are examined free of charge.

The samples can be analysed for norovirus genogroups I and II (GI and GII) and the hepatitis A virus. Later in 2019, it will probably be possible to detect even hepatitis E virus in the samples.

The Finnish Food Authority uses a standardised approach for the virus examinations, which has been tested with surface samples, shellfish, berries, fruit and vegetables. However, any food may be sent in as a sample if there is a strong suspicion that the food in question has transmitted the virus infection. Surface samples are taken from surfaces in staff facilities used by employees handling the kitchen and production environment and unpackaged foodstuffs.

Samples are taken and sent in accordance with the Sampling instructions (in Finnish). The sender is responsible for the correct packaging of the samples and for the shipping costs.

A referral for sending the food and surface samples can be found on the Referrals and Forms website (in Finnish).

The sampling equipment for taking the surface samples can be ordered using the contact details below.

Going forward, the Virology Unit will also provide virus testing, subject to a fee, for other food and surface samples, such as corporate own-check samples and project samples from the supervisory authorities. Instructions related to these samples will be published on the website when there is sufficient readiness to receive the samples.

Contact persons

Maija Summa, mobile +358 50 517 1267, email: firstname.lastname@foodauthority.fi
Tuija Kantala, mobile +358 50 323 6050, email: firstname.lastname@foodauthority.fi

On-call laboratory staff Mon - Fri 8 a.m. - 4:15 p.m., mobile +358 50 336 6563

Odering sampling equipment (surface samples)

Sampling equipment can be ordered by email from tilaukset@ruokavirasto.fi.
Please indicate the number of required sample tubes and the delivery address in your order. The sample tube is always supplied with a sampler.

Sampling equipment can also be picked up from the Finnish Food Authority’s shipping room. Please inform us in advance to the email address above if you are picking up sampling equipment. In rushed cases, equipment can be picked up without prior notice. We aim to keep at least ten sets of sampling equipment available. If more than 10 sample tubes are needed in rushed cases, please inform the on-call laboratory staff via telephone.