“EU has standardized kalakukko. The content of kalakukko has to include 38 % fish and 18 % pork meat. Also amount of salt and spices is strictly limited.” Mr Nätti, a markethall seller at Helsinki. He has all kind of fish products on his shop: fresh and smoked fish, canned fish products and also kalakukko-pastries.

Mr. Nätti tells that the new food handling regulation orders, that kalakukko and similar pastries have to be sold at marketplaces on the same day as they are prepared. That makes a challenge to finnish shopkeapers, because e.g. kalakukko’s birth place, Kuopio is 400 km far away from Helsinki.

“The local distributors are now favored”, Mr Nätti comments and continues: “If you have proper cold-storage, kalakukko-pastries can be sold for next two weeks.”

For a marketplace shopkeeper the investment to a cold-storage can be too remarkable. Also the lack of electricity can be a problem as well as handling a heavy machine.

Evira, Finnish Food Safety Authority answers

A lawyer Jorma Pitkänen from Evira answered, that in fact EU itself has not affected to kalakukko. EU standardization does not set any certain temperature, in which the pastry should be sold. Instead EU has set certain temperature regulation for preserving of food.

“Temperature has to be cool enough for the kalakukko, while it is waiting for to be sold. Similar regulations concern also other food products”, Mr. Pitkänen comments. It seems that EU is much interested in keeping the food eatable for all the period, when food is for sale.

The Finnish food authorities have categorized kalakukko as an easily spoiling food and because of that it should be kept and sold from a cold-storage that has temperature of +6 Celcius. Finnish food authorities have suggested this to be added into the Finnish food safety laws. Law is not yet finalized.

Also the proposal for new food safety law submits that warm food should be sold in 24 hour, if they are not put in to any certain temperature. This will make possible the sale of kalakukko in marketplaces for one day after preparing them.

“Every country has own food safety regulations. EU does not give any strict regulations to handling of food, but it gives advices for it.”

What kind of food safety regulations are in EU?

EU´s “Hygiene Package” is a body of legislation that sets down clearer and more in-lined rules on the hygiene of foodstuffs, specific hygiene rules for food of animal origin, and specific rules for controls on products of animal origin intended for human consumption.

Part of the Hygiene package is EU Regulation No 852/2004, which ensures the hygiene of foodstuffs at all stages of the production process, from primary production up to and including sale to the final consumer. This regulation concerns also Finnish kalakukko.

The European Food Safety Authority, EFSA, gives advices in such matters as feed additives, nutrition, genetically modified organisms and pesticides. EFSA is an independent European agency, which plays important role in advising and communicating food issues in EU. EFSA´s advice is often behind European legislation on food and feed safety.

What means EU protected food?

The European Union has added kalakukko to the Protected Designation of Origin list. Only true kalakukko are made in Finland, in the same way that, officially, Parma ham can only be made in Parma and Champagne can only be made in Champagne.

 See a video  – See more about Mr. Petri Nätti’s interview.

Eeva Vierros, Tiina Tenkanen, Sofia Flygare


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