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Customs controls did not reveal excess trans fats in foodstuffs

Publication date 24.8.2023 8.00
Press release

Last year, Finnish Customs controlled the quality and safety of biscuits and vegetable fat spreads. Especially in controls conducted in 2022, Customs examined contents of trans fats that are detrimental to blood fat levels. The consignments that Customs examined met the requirements set for trans fats.

In 2022, Customs carried out controls on trans fat acids in biscuits and spreads that were imported to Finland. The Customs Laboratory examined ten different kinds of biscuits and five types of spreads that originated in other European countries. The trans fat contents in the controlled product consignments were within the allowed maximum limits.

A regulation prescribed by the EU Commission has restricted trans fat contents since 2019. Trans fats are unsaturated fats that have a detrimental effect on blood fat values. However, trans fat quantities are not indicated in packages of foodstuffs currently in Finland.

Trans fat acids increase levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol, and decrease levels of “good” HDL cholesterol. According to the Finnish Food Authority, trans fat acids can be present in, for example, spreads as well as grain and baking products. They are also natural ingredients of meat and dairy products.

Customs controls imported foodstuffs based on risk assessments and trends

Last year, Customs looked into the situation involving products imported to Finland as part of normal controls of imported foodstuffs. Before this, trans fat contents in foodstuffs have been examined by the Finnish Institute for Welfare and Health (THL), the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, and the Food Authority.

– We align our controls based on our risk assessments. Food trends are also a factor. As last year there were no observations concerning trans fats that would have given cause for alarm, this year we will be focusing on other types of projects, says Jonna Neffling, Head of Product Safety.

Media release