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Government adopts new measures against BSE

The Swiss authorities have ordered changes in slaughtering techniques

(Keystone Archive)

The Swiss government has introduced new measures to combat mad cow disease, or BSE. The new precautions, made public on Wednesday, are aimed at improving the safety of consumers.

The main changes to protect consumers from BSE are in the slaughtering techniques. The compressed air method and a technique that uses vibrations to destroy the base of the brain are being stopped to prevent brain tissue from entering the circulatory system.

The veterinary authorities have also decided to ensure the removal of organs in sheep and goats susceptible to BSE. The organs include the brain, the spinal cord, the thymus gland and the spleen.

The removal of organs was ordered because in sheep, it is very difficult to distinguish BSE from scrapie, another disorder of the central nervous system, rarely found in Switzerland. The move brings Swiss legislation in line with European Union standards.

The authorities have also introduced a new monitoring concept, aimed at ensuring that controls on animals are carried out by professional veterinaries.

In addition, the government is introducing new legislation on animal transportation taxes, which will enable cattle to be traced back to the farm where they were born.

The number of BSE cases in Switzerland has progressively declined since 1990, when a number of preventive measures were introduced. These included banning meat and bone meal from cow fodder, and incinerating animals affected by the disease.

swissinfo with agencies


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