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Switzerland tightens veterinary checks amid food scare

Farms will be subjected to stricter controls under the new guidelines

(Keystone Archive)

Switzerland is stepping up its veterinary checks to ensure that meat remains safe, in the wake of food scares caused by mad cow disease - or BSE - and the feeding of hormones and drugs to pigs in Austria.

The Federal Veterinary Office said on Thursday that the new measures would include more spot checks on farms across the country, as well as clearer guidelines as to how veterinarians check what antibiotics are given to animals and how they should monitor animal health.

A spokesman for the Veterinary Office, Hans Wyss, said: "The checks help promote consumer confidence that food is safe. They also create conditions for exporting cheese and other dairy products into the European Union area."

He added that "they should help ensure that Swiss agriculture has a quality advantage over foreign competitors".

The decision follows a drop in beef consumption across Europe as a result of fears that people could contract a fatal brain-wasting disease by eating beef contaminated with mad cow disease.

Food safety was heightened recently after a scandal over illegal drugs and hormones that were fed to pigs in Austria.

swissinfo with agencies


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