Certain factors affect many sectors of food production. The availability and purity of two production factors, soil and water, are particularly important.
The purity, fertility and production capacity of agricultural land are as important as the quality of our waters – household water, surface water and groundwater. Their combined impact on the quality of food permeates the entire production chain. Finland’s soil is among the cleanest in Europe with regard to heavy metals, for example. Our fresh water resources are among Europe’s most abundant in relation to the population. The availability of high quality water is becoming a key competitive asset in the global food market.
In international comparisons, the Finnish food chain is very clean of bacteria. Finland – alongside our Nordic neighbours, Sweden and Norway – is one the few countries in which the salmonella situation is so good that the European Commission has issued special guarantees in foreign trade: only salmonella-free meat and egg products may be imported. Salmonella control, based on collaboration between producers and the authorities, covers the entire domestic production chain from feed to industrial production, and is the result of systematic work over many decades.
Use of antibiotics and the resistance situation are strongly interlinked in European countries. The more antibiotics that are used in livestock production, the weaker the antimicrobial resistance of the country in question, and vice versa. In Finland, the quantity of antibiotics administered to farm animals is among the lowest in Europe. Correspondingly, the resistance situation is good; antimicrobials are effective in combating bacteria in Finland. Bacterial resistance, particularly multidrug resistance, is rare in our country.
Hygiene competence is a factor in which Finland is probably in a class of its own throughout Europe. Finland’s hygiene passport, developed as proof of this competence, is also rare internationally. The extensive coverage of hygiene expertise ensures that the clean and safe food produced in the Finnish food chain reaches consumers in pristine condition.