Finland reported 93 batches of food and feed through EU's RASFF system in 2008 - 30th anniversary of RASFF system


<div>The member states of the European Community report any findings of food and feed batches harmful to health through the RASFF system (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) of the EU. In 2008 Finland submitted 93 notifications; 82 on foodstuffs and 11 on feed. The system is used for rapid transmission of information on any special circumstances related to food both within the EU and in third countries. Alerts about the melamine crisis in China and the dioxins found in Irish pork were received through this system. </div>

Finland joined the RASFF system in 1994 as an EFTA country. Finnish Food Safety Authority acts as the Finnish contact point for the system. Notifications are sent about both non-conforming batches rejected in border control and foodstuffs and feeds withdrawn from the market. Pet foods are also considered to be feeds. A total of more than seven thousand notifications were sent through the system last year, including follow-up notifications. The system is used to transmit information on the basis of which products posing a risk to health can be rapidly withdrawn from the market. The authorities in the product's country of origin, whether an EU member state or a third country, are informed about the notifications so that they can adopt more effective control measures. The European Union can ban the import of products of inferior quality into the EU or order that all imported batches are to be controlled.

The number of notifications sent from Finland has increased every year. Most of the notifications concern findings from analyses performed by the Customs Laboratory. In 2008 the most common reasons for notifications on food included additives, mycotoxins, microbiological quality and foreign substances. Finnish notifications pertained to Thai vegetables and food supplements from USA, as well as Chinese crockery and European feeds.

The European Commission publishes weekly overviews of RASFF notifications and draws up an extensive annual report. The annual report for 2008 will be published in the summer, and the anniversary of the alert system is also to be celebrated in Brussels at that time. Finland has been a member of the network for fifteen years and during this time the system has developed in terms of both technology and content to a significant internal information channel both within the EU and also toward third countries. Rapid transmission of information ultimately benefits the consumers; traceability is improved and non-conforming food and feed can be quickly withdrawn from the market.
The lists of the weekly overviews and old annual reports are available on the web site of the Commission at

For more information, please contact:
Senior Officer Hilpi Jenu, tel. +358 (0) 20 77 24311

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