From Iceland — Believes Alcohol Bill Is Illegal

Believes Alcohol Bill Is Illegal

Published December 10, 2013

The Society of Business Owners (FA) believes part of a new alcohol bill might itself be illegal.
Vísir reports that there is currently in parliament a bill from the ruling coalition that would make certain changes to existing alcohol laws. Amongst them is to give The State Alcohol and Tobacco Company of Iceland (ÁTVR) the authority to refuse to sell alcohol with labels that resemble non-alcoholic drinks, or non-alcohol drinks having labels resembling alcoholic ones.
The purpose of the rule, if it becomes law, would be to prevent alcohol producers from getting around the existing ban on advertisements for alcohol by advertising the non- or low-alcohol version of the same product, as they do now. Also, the authors argue, it would prevent people from getting confused, and accidentally drinking alcohol when they did not intend to.
FA contends that such a proposal, if it became law, would in itself be illegal. This is because, they argue, this would create products that, while perfectly legal for sale in other European countries, would be shut out of the Icelandic market.
Frosti Sigurjónsson, the chairperson of the Economics and Business Committee, told reporters that there is still work to be done.
“We intend to examine this thoroughly,” he said. “[The proposal] seems to be not very clear.”
Beverage company Vífilfell – which produces amongst other drinks the beers Thule, Carlsberg and Viking – said that they have not taken a formal position on the bill in question. They did say, though, that should it be passed into law, they would likely simply change their labeling practices.

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