Country of origin requirements

In Finland the country of origin of the food must be provided where failure to do so could mislead the consumer as to the true country of origin of the food. The purpose of this is to ensure that the consumer does not assume that the food is of Finnish origin when it is not.

Also, certain specific legislation requires providing the country of origin of certain foods, such as honey, vegetables, fish, meat and olive oil. We have national regulations requiring the indication of the country of origin of meat used as an ingredient in foods, the country of origin of milk and the country of origin of milk used as an ingredient in dairy products in prepacked foods made in Finland.

Furthermore, if the country of origin of the food is indicated and is different from the country of origin of the primary ingredient, the country of origin of the primary ingredient must be made clear to the consumer. For example, the use of a flag is considered as an indication of the country of origin of the food.

Definitions of vegan and vegetarian

In Finland there are no official definitions of “vegetarian” or “vegan”, but there is still a common understanding what is meant by these terms.

There are many different variations of “vegetarians”, and therefore the term “vegetarian” in connection with foods means only that there is no meat, but that ingredients can include milk products or eggs. For example, a “vegetarian hamburger” indicates only that there is no meat in the patty, but the hamburger may contain normal cheese and/or mayonnaise.

“Vegan” is a more precise term. The term “vegan product” is considered in Finland to indicate that the _ingredients_ of the product do not include anything of animal origin. The view of the Food Authority is that that the possible residues of products of animal origin do not prevent calling a product vegan and that is also the opinion of the Finnish Vegan Association.

Fortification of foods

Fortified foodstuffs are normal food to which vitamins, minerals or other substances with nutritional or physiological effects are added voluntarily in the production process. The objective of the fortification of foodstuffs is to improve nutrition level, restore nutrients lost in production or gain a competitive advantage in the food market.

At present, vitamins, minerals and certain other substances may be added to foods pursuant to the conditions of the Regulation on Fortified Foods without any specific authorisation. However, operators in the food business are required to notify the Finnish Food Authority about the placing on the market of foods fortified with vitamins and/or minerals.

Foods produced from raw materials that contain naturally occurring vitamins or minerals, such as calcium-containing milk, iron-containing powdered blood or fruit juice concentrates that contain vitamin C, are not considered to be fortified foodstuffs. The use of a fortified foodstuff as an ingredient in another foodstuff does not make the final product a fortified foodstuff either.

Vitamins and minerals may not be added to unprocessed foods, such as fruit, vegetables, meat, poultry or fish. The addition of vitamins and minerals is also prohibited to beverages with an alcohol content of more than 1.2 percent by volume.

In Finland it is compulsory to fortify skimmed homogenised milk with vitamin D3.

Cannabis as an ingredient in food and food supplements

In Finland cannabis is a narcotic drug, which is not allowed in any form. The Finnish authorities consider also cannabidiol (CBD) as a harmful substance, which shall be prohibited in Finland.

Cannabidiol (CBD) has been classified as a medicine in Finland. Due to this, any product that contains CBD is considered to be a prescription drug in Finland and all the restrictions concerning prescription drugs apply to CBD. This in in practice a very effective method to limit the possibilities to bring to market different kinds of new products regardless of whether they are elsewhere classified as foods, food supplements, cosmetics or in some other product category since the medicine legislation overrules food, cosmetic and other product-specific regulations.

In Finland products shall not contain any narcotic or psychotropic substances, such as THC. There is a zero-tolerance policy in respect of THC and not even extremely small amounts of THC are allowed. Therefore, also products containing less than 0,2 % THC are considered narcotic drugs and narcotic legislation is applied to such products in Finland. Because of this, some CBD products are considered narcotics due to their small THC content.


This is general information rather than legal advice and is current as of 30 May 2024. We recommend you contact a specialised food lawyer for legal advice for your particular circumstances to support commercial decisions which could impact your product or business.