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St Gallen farmers demand more border checks for illegal meat

Forty-five tonnes of pork were imported illegally from Austria Keystone Archive

Farmers from canton St Gallen are asking for increased checks at the Swiss border after the discovery this week of a vast meat smuggling operation from Austria.

The cantonal farmer’s association says this proves border controls are insufficient.

According to the association, the discovery of the smuggling operation comes at a critical time for local farmers who have seen their income drop. The meat market has been in turmoil since the end of last year, when Swiss consumers turned their backs on beef over fears of mad cow disease, or BSE.

The group also recommends consumers check where meat comes from before buying it in stores or ordering it in restaurants. The association is considering setting up a control system with the help of shopkeepers and restaurant owners to determine the origin of meat.

The Swiss customs had announced on Monday they had dismantled the third biggest ever meat smuggling operation into the country. Forty-five tonnes of Austrian pork worth SFr1.5 million were imported illegally into the east of Switzerland in the past five years.

swissinfo with agencies

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR