Finnish legislation on foodstuffs now allows various forms of small-scale sale and processing of foods without excessive red tape. Recently, the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry financed the publication of an information booklet on small-scale, low-risk production and sale of food items. The publication provides information on the practical application of legislation on foodstuffs and measures taken to make it easier to start a food business. With these measures, there is no danger of food safety being compromised, and no corners will be cut in terms of companies’ responsibilities.
Under the new guidelines prepared in collaboration with operators in the sector, small-scale and low-risk processing of foods may now be performed in connection with primary production without the need to submit a notification on food premises to authorities. ‘Low-risk product’ refers to foodstuffs, such as cakes, that can be stored at room temperature. The brochure provides examples of low-risk products and offers advice on the handling of products that present higher risk. The upper limit for small-scale sales is set at 10,000 euros per year. The regulations of the Finnish tax Administration apply to the operations.
For instance, the new guidelines enable a pick-your-own-fruit farm to set up a café for the summer season without submitting a notice about food premises. Establishing a farm shop too has been made easier, with a business-owner allowed to sell produce from other producers also (with the exception of eggs and raw milk) without submitting a food-premises notification. These regulations apply to private persons also, not only to businesses. Some examples are available at www.aitojamakuja.fi/suoramyynti. The examples also facilitate the monitoring of notification-related restrictions affecting small-scale and low-risk food-business operations.
The new brochure complements a series of publications on direct sales of local foods, foodstuffs production, and sales and retail activities. The guidelines are part of the Finnish government’s spearhead project aimed at the streamlining of regulations pertaining to business. The parties involved in the preparation of the brochure were the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira, the Central Union of Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners (MTK), the Swedish-language organisation for agricultural producers (SLC), the Rural Women’s Advisory Organisation, and the University of Turku’s Brahea Centre.
- The brochure on small-scale, low-risk production and sale of foodstuffs and other publications in the series (in Finnish and Swedish)
Marjatta Rahkio, the Ministry of Agriculture, +358 295 162 102, marjatta.rahkio [ at ] mmm.fi
Johanna Mattila, Brahea Centre at the University of Turku, p. 040 565 8121, johanna.mattila [ at ] utu.fi