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Illegal Norwegian whale meat sold as snacks at Berlin Green Week

By Anne Sewell     Jan 25, 2014 in Food
Berlin - Customs officials uncovered a scandal at Berlin's International Green Week food fair on Wednesday when they confiscated three kilos of illegal Minke whale meat from a stall at the event. Regrettably four kilos had already been sold.
The Norwegian stall was selling bite-sized, marinated snacks made from the whale meat.
The seizure came after a tip off from the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Group (WDC) and the BZ newspaper.
Norway is one of few countries in the world where the sale of whale meat is allowed, but the practice is banned in Germany and many other EU countries. For some reason the stall holders did not appear to know this, as they offered the snacks, served with a blueberry dip, for 2 euros each.
The manager of the Norwegian stand, Arne Andreas Rød told the BZ newspaper, “We are surprised that selling it is illegal here.”
Within two hours of the visit by both WDC and BZ, customs officials closed down the stall. The matter is now being followed up by the state prosecutor's office, who stated that they are looking into an incident of “import, export, and sale” of meat.
The stall owners could face a fine and imprisonment of up to five years if they are charged.
Astrid Fuchs from the WDC criticized the sale of the whale meat, saying:
"The fact that the meat is of a species which is strictly protected in Germany and the whole EU, is offered for sale is a scandal. This underlines the fact that there is an urgent need for a sharper application and monitoring of existing laws. It is not only that Norway broke the law here several times – with both the importation of the meat, as well as offering and selling the meat – it is that the unsuspecting visitors to the Green Week who purchased the whale meat, unknowingly committed a potential illegal activity by purchasing the whale meat. This is all very unexpected and scandalous for an event as big as Green Week.”
The Huffington Post is reporting that this discovery came shortly after the WDC exposed a beer in Iceland containing whale meat. In a statement the WDC said that this was more proof of whalers' attempts to find new markets to prop up a failing industry.
Daniel Stengel from MEER e.V. was quoted by the WDC as saying:
"Instead of trying to generate new sales opportunities, Norway should finally realize that whaling is a discredited industry. This is a clear attempt to find new customers abroad in an illegal manner because of dwindling domestic markets - in defiance of international law."
The Berlin International Green Week is held every year for processors and marketers in agriculture, horticulture and various food industries to show their wares. The fair attracts many thousands of visitors, this year including customs agents.
More about Berlin, Germany, Norway, Norwegian, Whale meat
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