Norwegian Whale Meat Confiscated

WDCS has received confirmation from officials with the Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Mattilsynet) that they have confiscated 4320 kilos of whale meat that had been sitting in storage in the Vom og Hundemat pet food facilty in Trøgstad, Norway.

In an email to WDCS, Mattilsynet senior veterinary inspector Trude Hegle said that she could confirm the confiscation of the whale meat. 

Mattilsynet had received a request to grant a license for export of 720 kilos of whale meat for human consumption to the
Faroe Islands/>; upon arrival at the Vom og Hundemat facility last week, the authorities found six pallets of 720 kilos of whale meat, a total of 4320 kilos.  The whale meat originated from the Lofothval whale processing facility in Lofoten, and was from the 2007 and 2008 hunts.

According to press reports, Mattilsynet inspector Klaus Fotland, who visited the facility, said that there had been suspicions about the request from Lofothval to clear 720 kilos of the whale meat for sale as human food to the
Faroe Islands/>, as the Vom og Hundemat company does not have clearance for the production of food for human consumption.

The whale meat pallets were being held next to rawstuffs used in the making of animal food, and the locker would not be sufficiently hygenic for human food, and the entire consignment has been confiscated by Mattilsynet pending laboratory testing.  An additional pallet of whale meat from Lofothval had been found by another Mattilsynet office in Ytre Ostfold, and samples from that shipment was not “satisfactory”, according to the press reports.

Mark Simmonds from WDCS said: “This discovery only confirms what WDCS has been saying about the whale meat markets in
Norway, that/>/> there is more meat than there is demand for this product.  It appears that the whalers are desperate, and are hunting for new markets for their stockpiles of minke meat.  We congratulate the Norwegian authorities for taking swift action to impound the whale meat.”

This is the second attempt to export minke whale meat to the Faroe Islands that WDCS has uncovered this year; in late summer 2008, the Icelandic Minke Whalers Association exported one ton of minke whale meat to the Faroes, but the shipment ran into customs difficulties when it turned out that the whale meat did not have proper EU permit for processed meat. 

WDCS has been long been concerned about the links between the pet food and whaling industry. In 2002, some 700 tons of whale blubber were turned into dog and cat food and it was subsequently confirmed that this blubber had been too toxic for human consumption.