Icelandic Whaling Company Did Not Abide Food Handling Laws - The Reykjavik Grapevine

Icelandic Whaling Company Did Not Abide Food Handling Laws

Andie Fontaine
Photos by
Arne Feuher

Hvalur hf, the last Icelandic whaling company to hunt endangered fin whales, never followed Icelandic food handling laws regarding the butchering of whale meat, Fréttablaðið reports.

In 2009, new regulations were put in place by health authorities regarding the safe butchering and handling of whale meat. Amongst these regulations is that the actual butchering be conducted within an enclosed, covered space. Hvalur hf., which recently gained international attention for killing a rare blue-fin whale hybrid, never abided this regulation, and has conducted all meat butchering in the open air.

When asked how Hvalur’s operations were allowed to continue despite not following this regulation, Viktor Pálsson, a lawyer for the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority, said that this regulation was made more flexible, demanding only that those butchering whale use “appropriate means” for preventing the contamination of meat.

Hvalur’s operations license runs out on September 15, and this license expressly demands that companies fulfill all regulations pertaining to them. Despite this, an inspection of the Hvalfjörður whaling station by food health authorities showed seven comments were made on conditions there last June; six were made during another inspection about two weeks ago.

The company aims to hunt a total of 160 fin whales this season.


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