Food contaminants are substances that have not been intentionally added to food products but may still be present in foods, for instance as a result of production or other processing stages or due to environmental contamination. Such substances include e.g. mycotoxins, heavy metals, dioxins, PCBs, PAHs and nitrate. Contaminants may render food harmful to human health, or unfit for human consumption. Therefore, measures are being taken to limit and minimise their concentrations in food.
Legislation protects your health
As a rule, there is no reason for consumers to worry about contaminants in food as legislation and the maximum levels set for food contaminants are always amended and adjusted if this is necessary according to the latest research data. Since their body weight is lower, young children are more susceptible to the harmful effects of contaminants. Therefore, the maximum levels permitted in baby foods are very low.
The aim of legislation on food contaminants is to secure a high level of consumer and health protection by ensuring that food products are safe to all consumers – every day, all their life. Legislation provides the basis for the self-monitoring of food business operators and the official controls carried out by the authorities.
Although food products on the market are safe, you can further reduce the intake of contaminants by eating in moderation and following a sufficiently balanced and varying diet in accordance with general nutrition recommendations. In some cases, however, it is considered that the current legislation does not ensure an adequate level of consumer protection, and thus specific instructions for the safe use of food products have been issued for certain consumer groups.
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- Elintarvikkeiden ja talousveden kemialliset vaarat, (Eviran julkaisu 2/2013) (The chemical contaminants of foodstuffs and household water, Evira publications 2/2013, available in Finnish only)
- See also Contaminants
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