The various regulations and laws have been enacted in order to make using products and services safe for the consumer. It is important that also manufacturing a product or producing a service is safe for the entrepreneur as well.
After the JA company has decided on a business idea, it would be worthwhile for them to start finding out about possible directives concerning the idea, and see whether a JA company is even allowed to function in the field of the said business idea.
For example, in the instructions published by the Finnish Tax Administration, it is stated that there are various regulations and laws concerning the construction, which practically prohibit JA company activities on certain building sites since a JA company is not an authorized official form of company.
Furthermore, students in electricity sector face restrictions on doing electrical work because they require qualification by law.
Personal abilities depend on the subject matter or the machinery to be operated. If you have never used a chain saw, you are not likely to be able to take into consideration all things related to using the saw and safety the first time around.
What will you do if, for example, the saw gets stuck in the middle of it all, or if the tree you are cutting starts to fall into the wrong direction? Have you purchased all the safety equipment needed?
Rare is a JA entrepreneur who operates a chain saw, but the example about the importance of knowing how to operate machinery needed in the line of work can be applied to all entrepreneurs.
Qualification acquired through education and formation are required before being allowed to work in some industries. These qualifications include, for example, the hot work license.
The insurance provided by Junior Achievement Finland does not cover accidents or damages caused to the JA entrepreneur.
So, it is better to give up pursuing business ideas that contain a risk of getting injured. For instance, dumping snow off roofs contains a high risk of the worker falling down, so it would be better to concentrate on removing snow off locations on the ground level.
Ordering products from overseas, one can never really be completely certain of the safety of the products. In Finland, customs authorities, among other officials, monitor shipments coming from overseas and perform inspections on them. Did you know that for instance cosmetic products must have package leaflets both in Finnish and in Swedish to ensure that an allergic consumer has the information and will not risk using a product unsuitable for them?
This is why it pays to be cautious and preferably order products made in the European Union because in principle they already meet the safety requirements set by the EU.
When ordering online, aspects of information security are also good to bear in mind. Only buy from reliable online stores. The safest method of payment is using a credit card because in case the product will not arrive, you can get your money back from the credit card company.
Will there be danger for the customer?
A part of the customers may be allergic to some of the ingredients in the product, so labelling must be correct in bakery products, as in cosmetics, and in jewellery, too.
Are there instructions for use available in Finnish and in Swedish? The customers have to able to read for example the instruction manuals of electronic devices in their native language in order to be able to safely operate the product.
Did you know that the importer is responsible for both providing correct instruction manuals and for the safety of the product? The importer can be a private person or a company. In JA companies, the participants are treated as private persons.
The execution of some business ideas may cause danger not only to human beings but also to the environment, if, for instance, a product is manufactured using various chemicals or a lot of waste is generated. When dealing with chemicals, instructions of use must always be read carefully and the properties of the chemicals must be known to ensure safety.
One should also reflect on how to generate less waste.
A JA company may manufacture and sell foodstuff without making a declaration of a food establishment to the communal food monitoring authority. The activities of the JA company should be low-risk and in accordance with the rules and regulations set for handling and sales of food.
Baking, compiling ham or cheese sandwiches, and preparing soups or casseroles, for example, are considered low-risk food preparations. Served meats and fish must be cooked. All vegetables must always be washed before using them, and root vegetables must be washed both before peeling and after peeling them.
Especially when handling foods that spoil easily, proper temperatures for storing and serving to have to be observed; hot foods must be kept hot, and cold foods must be kept cold. Cross-contamination between raw and cooked foods as well as with foods to be eaten as they are, is prevented by correct handling of foodstuff.
According to the Finnish Food Authority, a low-risk activity cannot be widescale handling of foods. Nor can it be preparing and selling certain foodstuffs that are especially risky to handle and prepare.
Junior Achievement Finland recommends that JA companies who prepare or sell foodstuff, meticulously familiarize themselves with food hygiene and follow the directives of handling and preparing food.
Allowed and prohibited activities
- Baking and selling oven-ready pastries in the school café.
- Selling self-made baked rolls or cookies at sales.
- Compiling and selling ham and cheese sandwiches in the school café.
- Preparing and selling gravlax sandwiches.
- Preparing and selling sushi.
- Salting roes.
- Preparing steak tartare.
Junior Achievement Finland is in accordance with the Finnish Food Authority and prohibits (see: exception) from JA companies the handling and preparing of the following products:
- preparing steak tartare
- curing fish
- salting roes or preparing sushi dishes
Handling and preparing these foods demand special requirements.
Preparing these products is, however, allowed to the students who can prepare the products in qualified food establishments (normally teaching and training kitchens in the hotel and catering industry) and who, through their education and training, possess the skills and knowledge required for preparing these foods. The supervising teacher must also be aware of the risks of the activities and make sure that all preparation requirements are met.
Pop-up restaurant operations and JA company
Catering services provided by JA companies can be compared to Pop up restaurant operations because the situations concerning food hygiene and safety regulations are quite similar.
The legislation makes it possible to set up a pop-up restaurant. The activities, however, must be low-risk and the operator must be a private person – which is typical in pop-up restaurant operations.
By food law, it is possible to practise so-called pop-up restaurant operations without making a declaration of food establishment. The operator of a pop-up restaurant is bound by the general hygiene requirements stated in the food law, and the operator is always responsible for the food safety of the foods prepared and served by them. Food control authorities may perform inspections in pop-up restaurants, too, but they are not monitored regularly.
For example. baking, compiling ham or cheese sandwiches, and preparing soups or casseroles can be considered low-risk food preparations.
According to the Finnish Food Authority, a low-risk activity cannot be widescale handling of foods. Nor can it be preparing and selling the following foodstuff: preparing steak tartare, curing fish, salting roes, or preparing sushi dishes, because handling and preparing these foods demand that specific safety requirements are met.
Doing these kinds of activities has to be reported to the communal food control authority of the location of the food establishment 4 weeks prior to starting the activities.
Food establishments and other spaces
With food establishment, we refer to any building or premises, or a part of them, or another outdoor or indoor space in which people prepare, store, transport, sell, serve, or handle foodstuff meant for sale or delivery, but, however, is not a primary production site. (foodstuff legislation 23/2006).
Operators in food industry have to make a written declaration about their food establishment four weeks before they start production or if they make relevant changes to their operations. The notice is processed by the local food control authority of the municipality in which the food establishment is located.
”According to the foodstuff legislation, paragraph 13 (6), declaration is not required if the risks associated with the activities are minor in respect to food safety, and
- food industry operations are carried out in the same quarters with other business activities completed by the operator (for example, coffee and cookies served at a hairdresser’s)
- the operator is a private person (for example, a person bakes occasionally and sells their pastries at the market, pop-up restaurant operation)or
- activities cannot be considered as a livelihood (for example, selling food at church, school, or sports clubs sales).
A declaration can be left undone only if the activities are low-risk and one of the three conditions mentioned above also applies. Professional activities must always be declared even if the activities were low-risk in the perspective of food industry. ”
Labelling of foodstuffs gives consumers important information about the ingredients, preservation, and the process of preparation of the food.
Because of the importance of the information, labelling foodstuff has been made mandatory. In some cases, the obligation of providing information applies to unpacked products, too. It is the duty of the operator responsible for the foodstuff to label the products providing adequate and sufficient information.
Also, foodstuff prepared and packaged by JA companies must contain labelling because they are mandatory. Food Safety Authority (Evira) has written guidelines for labelling with exact rules. These guidelines also include exemptions to the rules of labelling. Below, a few extracts from the exemptions to the labelling rules. Practically the same directive also applies to JA companies:
”In a vocational school or an equivalent of that kind of an educational institution, the packages of foods prepared and sold as student projects must have labelling containing the name of the product, the quantity, the country or area of origin (if the lack of this information may be misleading to the consumer), the ingredients that commonly cause intolerance, and the alcohol content of the product in some cases; if the time of preservation of the food item is is less than 3 months, also the minimum time of preservation or the last day of use as well as storage instructions have to be marked on the package, too. However, date marking is not needed if the food item in question is subject to exception by a set regulation concerning date marking of certain foodstuff.
Packages of foods prepared as activities of domestic or agricultural farms and sold at occasional fairs or sales can be left without other markings as long as the name of the product, the ingredients that commonly cause intolerance, and the date of production are included in the labelling.” (Translated: https://www.finlex.fi/fi/laki/alkup/2004/20041084 1084/2004, 40 § paragraph 4)
Serving alcohol is prohibited from JA companies because it is subject to authorisation and requires that the operators are of legal age. Having made sure they have followed all official orders as well as rules set by regional authorities, the JA companies with entrepreneurs of legal age may serve alcohol.
Hygiene Passport (Hygiene proficiency certificate)
People working with foodstuff have to know the basics of food hygiene in order to be able to handle food in a safe way. The Finnish food industry hygiene proficiency certificate has been created to promote food safety. The JA companies that work with food need to read the instructions and, if needed, complete a course and obtain hygiene proficiency certificates for the participants.
Additional information about the hygiene proficiency certificate on the Finnish Food Authority ( Ruokavirasto) website.
Who has to have a hygiene proficiency certificate?
The worker has to have a hygiene proficiency certificate if they work in a food establishment and handle unpackaged foods that spoil easily.
Food establishments are, for example:
- cafés, restaurants, and fast-food restaurants
- grocery stores, i.e. shops that sell food
- industrial kitchens, bakeries, and factories that manufacture foods.
Foods that spoil easily are milk, meat, and fish, for example.
What is the deadline for getting the hygiene proficiency certificate?
You have to get your hygiene proficiency certificate when you’ve worked three months in a job that requires having the certificate.
If the work is done in short periods, all working periods are added together. When the working periods sum up to a total of more than three months, the worker needs a hygiene proficiency certificate. If the working periods add up to less than three months, the worker does not need a hygiene proficiency certificate
Who does not need a hygiene proficiency certificate?
On the Finnish Food Authority website, there is a chart about what is considered handling of unpackaged, easily spoiled food. The chart also tells you who needs a certificate of proficiency (hygiene proficiency certificate), a health report, and protective clothing. All this is elaborated using concrete examples.
The chart also includes all the groups of workers that are not required to have a hygiene proficiency certificate by law, even if they should work in a food establishment and handled unpackaged foods that spoil easily. (foodstuff legislation 23/2006, paragraph 27.).
A hygiene proficiency certificate and protective clothing are required
Example / Reasoning
Food preparation, handling of unpackaged, easily spoilable foodstuff
- Unpackaged, easily spoilable foodstuff is, for example, chopped, sliced, ground, mixed, cooked, boiled, cooled, frozen.
Handling vegetables, fruits, berries, mushrooms by, or example, peeling, cutting, chopping, slicing
- When handled, vegetables lose a lot of their preservative qualities. For instance, vegetables are made into salads or they are preserved and pickled, for example, like beetroots, or cooked, like berry jams, in which cases it is no longer about making the vegetables presentable.
Making bakery products that spoil easily and contain foodstuff of animal origin (for instance meat pastries, egg rice pastes, meat pies, pizza). Preparing paninis, sandwiches, hamburgers, stuffed sandwiches, bread rolls, baguettes, etc. from the ingredients (filled with vegetables, like cucumber, tomato, lettuce, or animal-based foodstuffs, like cheese, ham). The ingredients are, for example, chopped and sliced
- This activity is more than just heating up and selling a ready-made product to the customer, as the product is prepared from scratch, and in the process, unpackaged foodstuff that spoils easily are handled. Or, for example, the foods are placed for sale, for example in a vitrine as they are or wrapped up.
Dishing out and selling easy scoop ice cream
- The ice cream may be contaminated by the actions of the worker (working methods, hand hygiene, protective clothing, wearing jewellery etc.). A particular risk lies within ensuring the cleaning as well as sanitary use of the ice cream scoop. The water in which the scoop is kept is a particular risk in the process.
Working a cash register if handling unpackaged, easily spoiled foodstuff is involved
- If in addition to working the cash register, the assignments also include, for example, stuffing bread rolls and putting them up for sale.
Handling edible insects in a food establishment (not farming, which is a part of the primary sector)
- Handling insects (for example defrosting frozen insects or cooking defrosted insects) in a food establishment before they have been brought into a form that keeps well (for instance, dried) is handling an unpackaged foodstuff that spoils easily.
No hygiene profieciency certificate nor protective clothing required
Example / Reasoning
Baking frozen raw pastries (Karelian pastries and meat pastries, for example)
- Bakery products that spoil easily and are prepared by heating them up (such as meat pies, Karelian pastries, egg pastries, meat pastries) may be stored in room temperature in the place where they are baked, on the day of the sales, provided that the products left unsold will be destroyed in the end of the day (1367/2011, paragraph 7). The dough in frozen raw pastries is raw and it will cook during baking, but the fillings are cooked even before baking the raw pastries.
Heating up ready-made paninis, sandwiches, pizza, meat pies, etc. for the customer in a sales situation (stuffed with vegetables, animal-based foodstuff).
- The ready-made products are removed from their packages to be heated up straight away, which does not fall into the category of handling unpackaged, easily spoilable foods.
Preparing sandwiches, bread rolls, coffee cakes, cookies, sweet rolls, and such bakery products by heating up if no easily spoilable ingredients have been used in making and the ready product has not been added easily spoilable foodstuff, such as whipped cream
- Is not in the category of handling unpackaged, easily spoilable foods.
Compiling sandwiches (handling of cold cuts, chopping vegetables) and pouring beverages along with dishing out food or snacks
- This activity is not considered serving. The foodstuff is not made for sale but is to be eaten immediately after preparation.
A person occasionally makes foods for sales, for instance, bakes cakes or quiche, or prepares stuffed sandwiches in their own home or in some other kitchen
- Is not a food establishment activity.
Making pancakes or waffles in various events
- Is not a food establishment activity.
Directions for cosmetic products
When preparing or selling cosmetic products, one must obey the cosmetics legislation (EU cosmetics regulation (European Community) N:o 1223/2009 and national law on cosmetic products 492/2013). The legislation sets liabilities for both the person in charge of a cosmetic product (oftentimes a manufacturer residing within the EU or an importer shipping the product into the EU from the outside) and for the distributor. The purpose of the legislation is to ensure that the cosmetic products sold in the European market are safe for people’s health.
When a JA company delivers cosmetic products for distribution, consumption, or use, either for a fee or for free in connection to their business activities, the products must fill all the requirements in the cosmetics legislation.
It is rare for a JA company to be able to manufacture cosmetic products in practice, because the law requires a legally qualified authority to always test product safety. The responsibility for adequate testing of safety and writing a safety report before letting a cosmetic product into the market is with the person responsible for the product. Content requirements of the safety evaluation have been set in the EU cosmetics regulation attachment I (safety report of a cosmetic product).
Having an expert test a product is often very costly, so JA companies practically have no financial means to pay for the testing expenses.
So, it is more convenient for a JA company to work as a cosmetics retailer, i.e. distributor, rather than start manufacturing products by themselves and thus making them persons responsible for the product. The legislation sets more liabilities to the person responsible than to the distributor.
In Finland, the authority in charge is Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency Tukes.
Cosmetics as a hobby
One can still manufacture cosmetics a a hobby without having to make the safety reports required by the law. But even if you made products as a hobby, you should bear in mind that according to the law of consumer safety, the manufacturer is still responsible if a product should cause a reaction to its user, for instance. Therefore is good to announce the ingredients used in cosmetic products as well as the instructions for use.
Although a JA company is not liable to value-added taxation, it pays to remember that if self-made cosmetics are forwarded along with business actions, either for a fee or for free, for purposes of distribution, consumption, or use, it must meet the requirements of cosmetics legislation. Selling and marketing self-made cosmetics is always considered a business activity, and the legislative requirements have to be met.
If selling cosmetics is a one-time activity with just a few items to be sold, it may be considered a recreational activity, but if there are sales happening in more than one event, or if sales occur regularly, it can be seen as business activity.
Here is a link to a brochure published by the Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes) concerning jewellery and cosmetics as a hobby( harrastajan korut ja kosmetiikka -oppaaseen ) which you may find helpful. (only in Finnish)
Cosmetics and legislation
The most important legal obligations based on legislation when manufacturing and letting cosmetics into the market either in Finland or anywhere else in Europe are:
- writing a safety report according to the directions set by EU (EU directive on cosmetics, article 10, attachment I),
- reporting the products into the electronic database maintained by the commission (CPNP),
- labelling the products to meet the requirements of the national legislation of that particular EU country in which the product will be available to its end users (In Finland, the Law on cosmetic products 492/2013). According to this law, when a product is made available for end-users in Finland, the labelling must be available in Finnish and in Swedish,
- meeting the requirements and limitations given in the attachments II-VI of the cosmetics regulation about ingredients in cosmetic products,
- manufacturing the product using appropriate methods of preparation, for example, according to the ISO 22716:2007 standards.
Responsibilities of the person in charge (manufacturer) and the distributor
Reference: A synopsis composed by Tukes
Responsible person located in the EU the area:
- the manufacturer of the product (see definition article 2 (d)),
- EU / ETA importer (see definition article 2 (i)),
- a person appointed responsible by a mutual written agreement with them and the manufacturer or the EU/ETA importer.
- a distributor who markets the product under their own name or alters a product that already is in the market
Practically, the responsible person is the operator who ensures that the cosmetic product in the market meets all the requirements of the EU directive on cosmetics (see the list further down). The responsible person is visible to the consumer through their contact information in the package. On all products represented by them, companies should check whether they act as responsibles or as distributors because the role has an impact on the duties of the company.
The responsible person is basically liable for:
- Ensuring that a cosmetic product let into the market in the EU /ETA area is safe for people to use in normal and moderate consumption, and it does not contain prohibited or limited ingredients.
- Seeing that the labelling on the packages are correct.
- Reporting the product into the CPNP database maintained by the commission and updating the report if needed
- Maintaining product information and listing the safety evaluation information of the cosmetic product in the product information as well as updating if needed
- Ensuring that the product information is available in the address provided in the labelling of the package for possible inquiries from the inspection authorities
- Acting as a responsible operator in contact with the authorities if they have any inquiries about the cosmetic product let into the market
- Showing upon request to the authorities that the product let into the market meets the requirements of the directive on cosmetics
- Being responsible for the qualifications of the safety inspector of the product
- If the cosmetic product causes a risk to human health, the responsible person must immediately inform the competent national authorities of the countries in which the product is available, and the competent national authorities of the country in which the product information is available, and provide detailed information specifically about the non-compliance as well as about the corrective actions taken
- Cooperating upon request with the authorities on all actions aimed at eliminating risks caused by their cosmetic products made available on the market.
The distributor is defined in the regulation (Article 2 (e)) as:
The distributor is referred to as an individual person or a legal person within the supply chain who is neither the manufacturer nor the importer, and who makes the cosmetic product available for the people on the market in society.
According to the legislation, the distributor must:
- Follow responsible procedures in their actions.
- Check the correctness of the labelling and the language requirements before letting a cosmetic product enter the market
- The labelling must include the name and the address of the responsible person
- There must be a list of ingredients and possibly also instructions for use and warnings made available by the responsible person by the sales booth of soaps, bath beads, and other small items if this information is not provided in a wrapper or a brochure, or such.
- Packaging and brochures given out with bulk items sold loosely must contain the mandatory information in Finnish and in Swedish (quantity, time of preservation, instructions for use and warnings, application)
- Make sure that transportation or storage does not harm the compliance of the product
- Cooperate upon request with the authorities to eliminate the risks caused by products let on the market
- Report certain legally required information (product category and name, the name and address of the distributor, the name and address of the responsible person, and the EU country in which the product will be made available) into the electronic CPNP database maintained by the commission whenever translating labelling of any product in order to obey national legislation (Article 13)
- Make sure that corrective actions needed are taken in order to make a non-compliant product comply, or to remove it from the market, or to return it into the market
- If the distributor thinks or has a reason to believe that the product does not meet the set requirements, they may not make it available on the market.
- If a cosmetic product poses a risk to human health, the distributors must immediately inform the responsible person and the competent national authorities in the countries in which the product is available, as well as report the detailed information about first and foremost the non-compliant aspect and the corrective actions completed.
- skincare creams, emulsions, toners, gels, and oils,
- facial beauty masks,
- bath and shower products,
- hair removal products,
- deodorants and antiperspirants,
- hair dyes,
- products for perming and straightening hair, hairsprays,
- products for styling, washing, and conditioning hair,
- shaving products (creams, foams, toners),
- makeup and makeup removers,
- lip products,
- products for teeth and mouth care,
- nail care products and nail polishes,
- products for external intimate hygiene,
- sunscreen products,
- self-tanning products,
- skin whitening products and
- anti-wrinkle products.
A product or a compound made to be digested, inhaled, injected, or planted into the human body are no considered cosmetic products. For example, products used for tattoos and emphasizing eyebrows, lash lines, or lips with permanent pigmentation are not cosmetics.
Moreover, cosmetic products may not have medicinal applications, i.e. they may not be used to, for instance, cure, heal, alleviate, relieve, or prevent diseases or symptoms. For example, a cosmetic skin cream may not be marketed for treating a skin disease nor may nail polish be marketed for healing nail fungus.