The horse meat scandal that has prompted food quality testing throughout Europe and North America has taken an interesting turn as The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) found that a brand of Icelandic beef pies contain no meat at all. MAST tested a handful of foods produced by food services company Gæðakokkar to ensure that they did not contain any horse meat without saying so on the label and have found improper labeling in all of them. However none contained horse meat, MAST revealed in a press release. The beef pies, which claimed on the packaging to contain 30% beef, were found to have no meat (no animal protein) at all. Meatballs from the same company were labeled as containing both lamb and beef, but contained no beef. The Public Health Authority of the West has requested that the beef pies be recalled by Gæðakokkar. The Public Health Authority of the West is also seeking to legally reprimand Gæðakokkar for violating food labeling laws. Magnús Níelsson, owner of Gæðakokkar, told RÚV that he is shocked at the findings of MAST and cannot explain how no beef made it into the companies 30% beef pies.
The Nordic Literature Prize, which is given out annually to authors for novels in a Nordic language, will henceforth be headquartered in Reykjavík’s Nordic House, reports Vísir. Day-to-day management of the Nordic Literature Prize will be handled by the Nordic House, though it is uniquely placed to do so as it already houses an extensive Nordic language library. The prize has been awarded since 1962 for a work of imaginative literature written in one of the Nordic languages. In all, 7 Icelandic authors have won the prize since it began in 1962. The most recent Icelandic author to win was
Chinese Ambassador to Iceland Ma Jisheng and his wife have been arrested by Chinese authorities on suspicion of espionage, reports the Global Post. As reported, Ma Jisheng, who has been China’s ambassador to Iceland since 2012, left Iceland on January 23 of this year. By all accounts, he was expected to come back the following March. However, Ma Jisheng never returned, and neither Icelandic nor Chinese authorities would comment on his whereabouts. Reuters reports that Ma is suspected of becoming a Japanese spy while working in the Chinese embassy in Tokyo between 2004 and 2008. Asked whether the reports were
A geothermal location in southwest Iceland has been going through some sudden and dramatic changes. Víkufréttir reports that the geothermal area of Gunnuhver has seen quite a transformation recently. The site, which was once a relatively placid patch of gently bubbling clay and wafting sulfuric steam, is now under police lockdown. All steam has disappeared from the area, save for the source of the geothermal spring itself, which alternately bellows hot steam and clay metres into the air. The pedestrian walkway through Gunnuhver has partially collapsed due to the heat and water damage. Below, you can see a video of
A former Minister of Foreign Affairs has made a novel suggestion to end the current international row over Iceland’s whale hunting practices. RÚV reports that former Minister of Foreign Affairs Össur Skarphéðinsson believes there is a middle way when it comes to whaling: simply hunt the whales that are not endangered: minke whales. In fact, he contends that this is what one can read between the lines of a recent demarche from 35 nations exhorting Iceland to stop hunting fin whales. “Which would be that Icelanders drop hunting fin whales, but may continue hunting minke whales for domestic use,” he
MPs from five parties have proposed the Icelandic government explore building a train between Keflavík and Reykjavík, as well as a train for the greater Reykjavík area. Vísir reports that the proposal has speakers from every parliamentary party except the Pirate Party. Leading the proposal is Left-Green chairperson Katrín Jakobsdóttir, followed by Svandís Svavarsdóttir (Left-Green), Ásmundur Friðriksson (Independence Party), Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir (Progressives), Óttarr Proppé (Bright Future), Karl Garðarsson (Progressives) and Oddný G. Harðardóttir (Social Democrats). The proposal calls for results of the government’s findings on the logistics and possibilities for the trains in 2015. The idea is not a
The Minister of Fisheries, Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, says he is concerned by the démarche delivered to the Icelandic government to end the practice of whaling. Sigurður Ingi told RÚV however, that he felt it was important to highlight that all [fishing] organisations operating in Iceland do so sustainably, unlike many of the countries who signed the démarche. “I think that in the past few years we have been too shy about [our sustainable whaling practices] and I think it’s really burned us,” said Sigurður Ingi. “People and companies have maintained for a long time [that whaling has damaged the reputation of