Switzerland to introduce new BSE test for imported meat

The federal veterinary office is attempting to clamp down on illegal imports of suspect meat Keystone

A new test to determine whether there is a risk of imported meat infecting humans with BSE is to be introduced in Switzerland.

This content was published on July 22, 2001

The test will determine whether meat which crosses Swiss borders contains traces of nervous tissue, such as pieces of brain or spinal cord.

The federal veterinary office has announced that the new test, which is "nearly ready" for commercial use, is part of a string of new measures to ensure infected meat is kept out of the country.

Heinz Müller, spokesman for the veterinary office, confirmed that experts were also examining the possibility of tighter restrictions on other foodstuffs, including spring rolls.

"This Asian speciality contains vegetables and meat, which is sometimes difficult to identify," Müller told Swiss radio.

Experts working on behalf of the veterinary office recently examined at random more than 100 imported meat products, including pâté and terrines from France and Italy.

In four cases, the products were found to contain illegal traces of pigs' brains.

Consumption of pig and calf brains is not forbidden in Switzerland, but the import of any such products must be declared in advance.

swissinfo with agencies

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