The Swiss economics minister, Pascal Couchepin, says the sale of meat-based animal feed has been banned with immediate effect. Couchepin also announced that from January 1, there would be a ban on meat-based fodder for all farm animals.
He said on Monday the measures were designed to stop the spread of BSE or Mad Cow Disease. There are fears that BSE can be transferred to humans as new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (nvCJD), although the scientific evidence is inconclusive.
The government had initially aimed to have the ban on meat and bone meal in place by next March. However, following the European Union's decision to ban meat-based animal feed from January, the Swiss government is keen not to be seen as dragging its feet.
Couchepin told parliament that sales of meat-based animal feed had been suspended on Monday. He added that exports were also out of the question. "This cannot be allowed and is unjustifiable," he told the assembly.
Facing questions from members of the House of Representatives, Couchepin said that Swiss producers of meat-based meal could not expect compensation payments from the government, nor could warehouses selling the products at low prices.
About 5,000 tonnes of feed per year for domestic use and 45,000 tonnes destined for export will have to be incinerated under the new rules.
The Federal Veterinary Office estimates it will cost as much as SFr45 million a year to enforce the ban on meat-based feed.
swissinfo with agencies
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