The company Brúnegg not only sold eggs labeled as “green” (see below) without actually fulfilling the requirements to do so for nine years; they also broke several animal welfare laws in the process. The Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST) was aware this was the case, but this information did not reach consumers. Several stores have already removed the eggs from their shelves, and the company’s website is down.
The matter came to light as the result of extensive investigative efforts by RÚV, having twice been denied access to records in MAST’s possession on the company.
The eggs were not only not produced ergonomically according to Iceland’s regulations of how “green” is defined; the chickens themselves were subject to inhumane treatment, including but not limited to ammonia-polluted air, a lack of food, overcrowded conditions and, at some locations, up to 95% of chickens were in very poor health.
In the wake of RÚV’s broadcast on the matter, numerous shops pulled the eggs from their shelves. Further, the Farmer’s Association has condemned the treatment of the chickens, and the Consumer Agency says they will conduct an investigation of their own into how Brúnegg marketed their products.
Minister of Agriculture Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson said he was render “speechless” by the investigative report, saying that a “mistake” prevented the matter from traveling further up the chain of command that overseas farming and food production.
Brúnegg will be removing the “green” label from their packaging, but they will still have to answer for possible violation of numerous animal welfare regulations. It is unknown if this could lead to the company shutting down altogether, but their official site is offline at the time of this writing.
Translation note: The original Icelandic term for these eggs is “vistvænn”, an invented word that has no immediate translation, but implies a product that is environmentally sound and cruelty-free.