Food and household water

Food control in Finland and maximum values for food

Food control in Finland and maximum values for food

Finnish Food Authority leads and develops food control in Finland. STUK monitors the radioactivity in food. Through food control, STUK ensures that radiation levels in products are acceptable for human use. The monitoring of radioactivity in food and water constitutes part of the surveillance of environmental radiation. Furthermore, the results provide information that is useful for responding to radiological emergencies.

With regard to radiation, the most important food categories are natural produce and drinking water. Natural produce includes berries, mushrooms, meat and game from forest environment, as well as freshwater fish. From the nutritional aspect, farm produce is also an important food category. The transfer of radioactive deposition into farm produce has been the subject of extensive study for decades. Temporal changes in radioactivity in different product categories can be predicted, when necessary, on the basis of data received about radioactive depositions.

Maximum values for food

According to the Council Regulation, the maximum level of cesium-137 in food products imported to the EU is 600 becquerels per kilogram (Bq/kg) (Council Regulation 733/2008, in force until March 2020 under Council Regulation 1048/2009). According to the European Commission recommendation (2003/274/Euratom), the same concentration limit should be applied to natural produce sold in the EU countries.

Irradiation of food

The purpose of food irradiation is to improve the preservability of food. Radioactivity in food and food irradiation are two different things. Irradiation does not make food radioactive. Finnish Food Authority leads and controls the supervision of irradiated food products. In Finland, the import of irradiated food is monitored by the Customs Laboratory.