Controls of package labels of foodstuffs and consumer goods in 2017
In 2017, the Customs Laboratory inspected the package labels of altogether 1 322 samples of foodstuffs, of which 220 samples were taken in for closer examination due to non-compliance with regulations. Laboratory personnel observed serious errors in the labels of 74 products, and lesser errors in 134 products. Serious errors result in the product being rejected, whereas lesser errors result in a caution.
As for labels of consumer goods, altogether 1 553 products were inspected. Of these, 195 products were found to be in breach of regulations, and were selected for closer examination of labels. Laboratory personnel observed serious errors in the package labels of 78 products, and lesser errors in 117 products.
The most common reason for rejections in inspections of labels of foodstuffs (34 %) was that the products did not carry any labels in Finnish or Swedish, or lacked labels in one of the two languages. The next-highest rate of errors involved notifications on substances that cause allergies and intolerance (16 %), as well as warning labels (11 %). In such cases, there were no lists in Finnish or Swedish on product ingredients that cause allergies and intolerance, the said information was not highlighted in the list of ingredients in accordance with the EU Regulation on the provision of food information to consumers, or the products completely lacked information on any possible contents of substances that cause allergies and intolerance. For example, errors in warning labels involved information required on beans and certain food colours. Package labels also involved prohibited claims concerning health, insufficient instructions of use, and prohibited entries on organically produced ingredients.
Lacking or incorrect CE markings comprised the second-most common reason for rejections in controls of package markings (49 %). CE markings by manufacturers indicate that products meet the relevant requirements posed by the European Union. CE markings can only be added to categories of products for which it is required. The second-most common reason for rejections (17 %) was that products lacked labels in Finnish and Swedish completely, or lacked labels in one of the required languages. Products also lacked required warning labels and instructions of use relevant to user safety.
Operators were required to correct any serious errors in labels prior to the release of their products to the market. Alternatively, the import of products or their entry to the market were prohibited altogether. In cases of lesser label errors, Customs cautioned operators or advised them to correct the errors for example by means of in-house control.