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Finnish Food Authority relaxes product labelling rules due to wartime shortages

More flexible guidelines would enable food manufacturers to make sudden changes to ingredients when required.

Image: Henrietta Hassinen / Yle

The Finnish Food Authority has decided to temporarily relax product labelling rules in light of recent food shortages caused by the ongoing Ukraine war.

The crisis could necessitate flexibility in labelling requirements as manufacturers might need to make sudden changes or switches in ingredients, the authority said in a statement on Thursday. In such cases, the contents of the package may not fully correspond to the information provided on the label.

Relaxing the guidelines would enable manufacturers to continue using existing packaging materials.

The agency stressed that companies must ensure that they still safeguard food safety regulations and the consumer's right to information.

For instance, if the labelled ingredient is replaced with an alternative that could result in adverse health effects (such as allergies or intolerance), the new ingredient must be listed on the label.

Manufacturers would also have to inform consumers if the substituted ingredient significantly alters the nutritional value of the product (if sunflower oil is replaced with peanut oil, for example).

The new guidelines do not apply to items that require product-specific regulations such as food supplements and baby food.