Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson put forth a draft bill in parliament yesterday on the freer use of Iceland’s national flag on Icelandic products and design. The new bill will allow the flag to be displayed on Icelandic products, design and intellectual property under the supervision of the Consumer Agency. According to the current law, the Office of the Prime Minister must give express authority for the flag’s use in each case.
The Icelandic flag is currently used quite conservatively, whereas in Denmark, for example, you can hardly buy a block of cheese without the Danish flag on its packaging, visir.is reports.
The bill will allow food products that use raw materials that are not Icelandic but have been manufactured in Iceland for 30 years or longer to carry the Icelandic flag. Likewise, products designed in Iceland but made abroad will also be permitted to be marked with the Icelandic flag.
“This is a response to the request by numerous organizations and manufacturers of all kinds of Icelandic products,” Sigmundur Davíð said.
The labeling of food and other products in Iceland has been debated in Iceland in recent years. Some argue that the current labeling of some items does not clearly indicate a product’s origin.
Last year, a clothing company was fined because its labels indicated that its products were made in Iceland with Icelandic materials when they are in fact made abroad from foreign materials.
In November, MP for the Progressive Party Silja Dögg Gunnarsdóttir submitted a draft proposal to parliament to change the flag law, suggesting that it be made legal to display the flag more often, such as during the summer months when it is brightest in Iceland. She explained that the current law is based on showing the flag respect and for that reason the flag cannot be, for example, worn and must be in mint condition.
There are certain flag days in Iceland, including the National Day, Good Friday, Easter, Christmas Day and Sailor’s Day.