From Iceland — MP Wants Answers About Whale Beer

MP Wants Answers About Whale Beer

Published January 29, 2014

Andie Sophia Fontaine
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Social Democrat MP Mörður Árnason has submitted several questions to the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture about Hvalabjór, a beer made in part from powdered whale bones.

Vísir reports that Mörður formally submitted his questions in parliament today, directed at Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, over the sale of the beer. Specifically, Mörður had questions about how it came to pass that, despite the West Iceland Health Supervisory Authority banning its sale for legal and health reasons, the ministry allowed the sale anyway.

The MP asked first whether Hvalur hf., the whale hunting company which supplied the whale bone meal, had an operations licence to produce whale bone meal for food or “spicing” purposes, as the bone meal is used as flavouring for the beer. He also cited a letter the ministry sent Steðja, the brewery which makes the beer, in asking what makes the ministry believe the law is “unclear” regarding the use of whale bone meal in consumptives for humans or animals – which is expressing banned by European law.

Mörður also asked what concerns, if any, were sent to the ministry from its subsidiary offices, or anyone else, in connection with the ban. Lastly, the MP asked if the ministry contacted the health authorities involved about the decision before moving forward.

Vísir reportedly received no answer from the minister on the matter, despite repeated attempts.

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