Finland does not tolerate salmonella

Finland follows a line of zero tolerance as far as salmonella is concerned. Scrupulous checks on animal feed at the bottom end of the food chain dramatically reduce risks further up the chain.

According to the Finnish Food Safety Authority (EVIRA), on average, imports account for about a fifth of all the industrial feed used in Finland. Sinikka Marmo , assistant head of the Department of Agricultural Production Control’s Feed and Fertilizer Control Unit explains that Finland checks everything, including consignments of plant-based feed ingredients from EU countries, such as crushed soybean and turnip rape. One sample per 50,000 kilos is taken for analysis. If any salmonella is found, the contaminated consignments are treated and analysed again before being released for use.

Finland was one of the first EU countries to begin submitting RASFF (rapid alert system of food and feed) reports on cases of salmonella. Marmo explains that, within the EU, Finland, Austria and Sweden are in the vanguard in promoting awareness of the presence of salmonella in plant-based feed. There is a persistent traditional belief particularly in southern Europe that salmonella is only ever found in animal-based feeds.

Control of feed ingredients combats salmonella in the right place. If salmonella reaches the feed factory, then the game is up for all practical purposes and salmonella can spread to dozens or even hundreds of farms in contaminated batches of feed.

BY RISTO PITKÄNEN