Control of food businesses endangering food safety: development of risk-based control (2021-)

Some food business operators display repeated challenges in management of food safety risks. This research project aims to find new tools for food control authorities to motivate or enforce food businesses to comply with food safety requirements.

Food businesses repeatedly endangering food safety have been a burden for food control and other food businesses in Finland for a long time. Food business operators (FBOs) repeatedly violating food legislation cause health hazards and mislead consumers, distort competition and weaken the reputation of food businesses and the credibility of food control.

According to previous research, FBOs with poor risk perception and small-sized businesses are more likely to violate legislation (Kaskela et al. 2019), but also bigger enterprises can have problems with compliance. Problems related to money, time, competence and motivation have been noted as impediments to compliance especially in small-sized businesses (Yapp and Fairman 2006). Justification of why non-compliances should be corrected and a negotiating approach by the officials are important factors for correction of non-compliances (Läikkö-Roto and Nevas 2014).

There is no previous research in Finland on the features of companies that are weakest at managing their food safety risks, the underlying reasons for poor risk management and control means for these companies.

The aim of the project is to find new strategies for food control to cope with those FBOs that repeatedly receive the worst grades at food control inspections. With these new strategies the weakest FBOs could be motivated to improve their own risk management or enforced to comply, which would result in better food safety.

The researcher of the project is DVM, Specialist in Public Health Care, doctoral researcher Katri Kiviniemi. Collaborative partners in the study are the Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke) and the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry of the University of Helsinki. The study is funded by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry of Finland (Makera).