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Government seeks to restore confidence in Swiss beef

Fears of BSE have sent beef prices tumbling

(Keystone Archive)

The Swiss government is seeking to restore confidence in Swiss beef amid fears of BSE or Mad Cow Disease.

The economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, said on Wednesday that loss of consumer confidence had led to a 30 per cent drop in revenue for beef farmers.

He said the government had decided to invest up to SFr2 million ($1.2 million) in a campaign to improve the public perception of beef and increase awareness of the measures the government has already taken to make Swiss beef safe. The campaign, which will run until the end of the year, will target restaurants and hotels.

In addition, Couchepin announced that the government would spend SFr7 million on beef to be given in international aid. Famine-stricken North Korea is expected to be the main beneficiary.

A number of countries have banned imports of Swiss beef following outbreaks of BSE in Swiss cattle.

Switzerland introduced a ban on meat-based cattle feed in December 1990, but more than 300 cases of BSE have been registered since then.

swissinfo with agencies


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