Low level of cadmium in the soil promotes food safety and consumer health


<div>Finland has as a goal to keep domestic food production clean from harmful agents in fertiliser products. The cadmium levels in fertiliser products used in Finland have remained low due to the clean raw materials used in the fertilisers. This good situation should be preserved by monitoring the accumulation of cadmium in the soil as the selection of fertiliser products on the market is increasing and the cadmium level in the products varies. </div>

The multitude of fertiliser raw materials and fertiliser products on the world market and the increased prices have brought along changes also for the farms. The increased number of new fertiliser products and type designation and different marketing methods are setting new challenges, both for the supervising authorities and for those who are using fertiliser products in professional agricultural and forestry production.

The rise in the prices of fertiliser products adds challenges to the quality control. The high prices of the traditionally used, high quality fertilisers are bringing new, lower cost fertiliser products to the market that might be of lower quality when it comes to harmful agents than the familiar ones. Also the use of industrial by-products as fertiliser products, for example for lime applications, has increased the risks for harmful metals getting into the soil.

Limitation of cadmium accumulation through legislation

We aim at ensuring the safety of the use of fertiliser products by regulating the quality requirements by way of legislation and monitoring regularly the quality of fertiliser products. Pursuant to the decree by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (12/07 section 5) that came into force in 2007, the cadmium accumulation per hectare is not permitted to exceed six grams over four years in the agricultural or horticultural sector. It is permitted to spread a maximum of 1.5 g of cadmium per hectare annually. The cadmium accumulation is also limited in the sectors of landscaping and construction of green areas (a maximum of 15 g per hectare over 10 years) and in forestry (a maximum of 60 g per hectare over 40 years). The responsibility for the monitoring of cadmium accumulation is held by the spreader of the fertiliser product or, on a farm, by the farmer.

Monitoring the cadmium accumulation on the farm

In practice the monitoring of cadmium accumulation requires that the farmer annually notes down on “parcel cards” the amounts of cadmium that has been spread on the different parcels in conjunction with the record-keeping on the fertilisers. The levels of harmful metals are available from the producer of the fertiliser product, the marketer or the importer. The TE-Centres monitor the cadmium accumulation on the farms in conjunction with the other controls.

Carrying out monitoring of the cadmium accumulation on the farm is not a requirement for receiving agricultural support.

For additional information, please contact:
Senior Officer Mirva Levonmäki, tel. 020 77 25245

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