"Icelandic" Meat Might Be Of Foreign Origin - The Reykjavik Grapevine

“Icelandic” Meat Might Be Of Foreign Origin

Published July 12, 2016

Photo by
Alpha/Creative Commons

Caveat emptor: meat products marked “Icelandic” may have actually come from abroad.

RÚV reports that by Icelandic law, meat products may be labelled as being made in Iceland even if the meat it contains is of foreign origin, so long as the manufacturing and processing took place in Iceland. This means that, to use one example, the iconic Icelandic hot dog may contain meat products from mainland Europe. Even imported bacon can be labelled as Icelandic for the same reason.

Further complicating matters is that Icelanders don’t have a convenient way of knowing where their meat comes from. Even knowing where meat was imported from may not be enough.

For example, most imported chicken in Iceland comes from Denmark. However, a great deal of chicken in Europe comes from Asia.

Many consumers RÚV spoke with in Icelandic grocery stores were surprised and none too happy to be informed of the situation, with many expressing the opinion that it should be a given that the origin of meat is properly listed. However, while this may be a rule within the European Union, it is not a rule within the European Economic Area, of which Iceland is a part.

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