The Federal Council wants declaration obligations for frog’s legs and foie gras as well as an import ban for certain fur products
Bern, 05.04.2023 - It is intended to introduce a declaration obligation for certain animal products such as frogs’ legs or foie gras. This was decided by the Federal Council at its meeting of 5th April 2023. Imported plant-based foodstuffs would also have to be declared if they were produced with plant protection products that are classified internationally as particularly hazardous. In addition, it is intended to examine an import ban for furs produced under conditions of animal cruelty. The Federal Council has instructed the Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA to draw up a corresponding regulatory proposal by the end of March 2024.
In June 2021 Parliament adopted the SECC-S motion “Declaration of banned production methods in Switzerland” (20.4267). This requires that a declaration obligation be introduced for plant-based and animal products if production methods are used that are prohibited in Switzerland. These declaration obligations should be consistent with international law.
The Federal Council has now decided how it will implement this motion. An overall declaration of prohibited production methods in Switzerland would lead to disproportionally high costs for the economy. The controls would be much more costly. Moreover, an overall declaration obligation would contradict international obligations. Consequently, the Federal Council will limit the new measures to certain animal and plant-based products.
Three new Declaration Obligations
New declaration obligations are intended in three cases. Firstly, for animal products obtained without eliminating pain. This may be the case for frogs’ legs or for products from animals castrated without anaesthesia. Secondly, there should be a declaration obligation for products obtained by force-feeding geese and ducks. Thirdly, plant-based foodstuffs would also have to be declared if they originate from countries in which plant protection products that are classified internationally as particularly hazardous are used.
Import ban for furs produced under conditions of animal cruelty
The Federal Council will also examine an import ban for furs and fur products produced under conditions of animal cruelty. These have to be clearly labelled. However, since its introduction in 2014, the trade has poorly observed the declaration obligation. In 2021 and 2022 alone, the labelling was disregarded in two thirds of the inspected sales locations. The Confederation has contacted and warned the trade many times and imposed fines. This did not lead to any significant improvements.
The Federal Council has instructed the Federal Department of Home Affairs FDHA to draw up a corresponding Regulatory Proposal by the end of March 2024. It has also decided to suspend work on the digital declaration of foodstuffs until the position of the EU for this topic is known.
Address for enquiries
Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO)
Media Office, tel. 058 463 78 98