Iceland has lately been world famous for the way in which they held their bankers to account for the financial crisis. Now, it would seem, they’re again setting an example by recognizing the value of making raw milk available through legally-approved channels. From the Icelandic Review Online:
“Dairy company Biobú ehf. will start producing dairy products made of unpasteurized milk, which they will receive directly from dairy farmers, after obtaining a license from the Icelandic Food and Veterinary Authority (MAST).
“We get the milk straight away, instead of having to wait one day before it reaches us,” Helgi Rafn Gunnarsson told Morgunblaðið.
The company was also granted a permit to export the products to overseas markets.
Biobú produces organic yogurt, skyr and ice cream from organic milk delivered from farmers.
Pasteurization is a process that kills bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. Those for the practice argue that it kills harmful bacteria and is necessary. Laws prohibiting the sale of raw milk exist in some countries…..”
Regarding the banking crisis in Iceland, here are a few snippets.
“Iceland solves banking crisis by indicting CEOs, forcing mortgage relief
Via Mark Thoma’s Economist View, I came across an interesting blog on financial regulation called Trust Your Instincts. Lately, the author, “Richard,” has written a set of posts comparing two models of dealing with the financial crisis, which he calls the Swedish model (used by Sweden and Iceland) and the Japanese model (used by Japan, the U.S., and the U.K.).
Here is his description of the two models:
Regular readers know that under the Japanese model losses on the excesses in the financial system are only recognized as banks generate the capital to absorb them. This is good for banks because the model involves hiding their true condition and pursuing policies designed to boost bank earnings. It is bad for the economy because it distorts asset prices and access to capital (for proof, look at the performance of Japan’s economy).
The alternative is a Swedish model that is bad for banks and good for the economy. It is bad for banks because they are required to recognize the losses on the excesses in the financial system today. It is good for the economy because it avoids the distortion in asset prices and access to funding associated with hiding the losses under the Japanese model (for proof, look at the performance of Sweden’s economy).
Richard points to recent events in Iceland as another successful application of Sweden’s model. There, the country’s banks forgave loans equivalent to 13% of gross domestic product, according to a Bloomberg article Richard cites. The equivalent in the United States would be about $1.95 trillion of mortgage debt writedowns. Icelandic banks agreed to forgive all mortgage debt over 110% of a home’s value.
Not only that, Bloomberg relates a development that would meet, I believe, with the approval of Tea Party members and Occupy protesters alike: Bankers were held personally liable for crashing the country’s economy. The CEO’s of the country’s three largest banks are among 200 who are facing criminal charges, and a special prosecutor expects up to 90 more indictments. The contrast with the United States could not be more obvious….”
“Iceland a silver bullet for the world financial crisis:
Iceland, on the verge of bankruptcy, fired the silver bullet. They arrested the central bankers in their country, got rid of their central banks, and simply deleted the fraudulent debt that they did not owe, as it was created through an international criminal act. And now the Icelandic economy is booming. Go figure.”
“Ex Prime Minister convicted of negligence
Former Icelandic Prime Minister Geir Haarde was convicted Monday of negligence related to the collapse of his nation’s banking system, but he was cleared of three other charges and will face no punishment, a court official said.
Afterward, Haarde insisted that he’d been acquitted on the most serious charges that deal most directly with the origins and handling of the crisis. He characterized the lone conviction as relatively inconsequential and “ridiculous.”
“I have just followed the traditions of all my predecessors as leaders of the Icelandic Cabinet have practiced throughout the decades. And maybe I’m just taking a hit for all of them,” Haarde said. “But the point is that this (conviction) has nothing to do with the financial crisis.”…”
“Icelandic government hires ex cop to hunt bankers
Ólafur Þór Hauksson, a former police lieutenant, has been hired to track down financiers involved in the Icelandic financial crisis.
In a twist more akin to a Hollywood film than traditional banking procedure, the Icelandic government has hired a white collar detective and former Police Lieutenant to track down Iceland’s economic criminals, and are calling on the rest of Europe to follow suit.
Most of those targeted are former banking sector officials or were board members of banks before the crisis….”