Food supplements are widely used by consumers in Finland occasionally or regularly. For some population groups certain supplements are recommended for nutritional purposes. In addition to vitamins and minerals, food supplements may contain other physiologically active substances and different plant extracts. One challenge faced by the authorities is to differentiate food supplements from medicinal products that are subjected to more rigorous safety assessment before approval.
Since the contents of nutrients or other substances in food supplements are not regulated, a national notification procedure has been put in place. A decree (78/2010) stipulates that all food supplements put on the market in Finland have to be notified to the Finnish Food Safety Authority (Evira). This procedure produces information on the variety of products available on the market, and is therefore both a useful tool for food control, and a source of data for risk management.