Food control of Finnish food companies is harmonised


<p>Food control in Finland will be harmonised when the control data on retail stores and restaurants will be published in the Oiva system as of May 2013. The Oiva system will not impose new requirements on the operations of food companies. The results will be published on the website as of May 2013 and displayed at store and restaurant entrances from the beginning of 2014.</p>

Publication of control data will increase transparency in supervision and provide information for consumers to help them make informed choices. Another aim is to increase the effectiveness and awareness of food control. At the same time, food companies will be given the opportunity to tell consumers that their operations are in order.

In their inspections, the municipal surveillance authorities use the Oiva assessment instructions drawn up by the Finnish Food Safety Authority Evira. Food companies can utilise the inspection instructions in the planning of their own operations.

Hygiene, temperatures and allergen control

The contents of inspections carried out by the municipal surveillance authorities will not change. They are inspections complying with the control plan and subject to a charge. Along with the Oiva system, controls will focus on a risk-based approach, as a result of which the time spent in inspections will be reduced. Inspections are usually carried out without prior notice with a purpose of inspecting the current operations of the company. Food control in Finland will be harmonised with the introduction of uniform inspection practices.

The inspected areas are divided into 18 subject entities. In stores and restaurants, the areas to be inspected every time are the daily cleaning of premises and equipment, work practices, work clothing and hand hygiene of staff, correct storage of cold and hot products, cooling of food, and allergen control. Other areas are inspected at the discretion of the supervisor at least once every three years.

Smileys tell the results

The inspection results are presented in the Oiva report using smileys to describe the company's food control results. There are four different smileys: excellent, good, to be corrected, and poor.

The Oiva report includes grades for all inspected subject entities. If even one of the grades is poor, the overall score will also be poor even if the other grades are excellent. However, the company may still be doing well in other areas. Consumers can obtain more detailed information about a company’s food safety by inspecting all smileys and written feedback given to the company.

Further information
On the publication of food control data (in Finnish)

Further information can also be requested from the health inspector of your municipality.

Further information
Marina Häggman, Senior Inspector, Evira, tel. +358 50 562 7746

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