A new case of BSE has been detected in the Canton of St. Gallen, the first in five years.

 

"/> A new case of BSE has been detected in the Canton of St. Gallen, the first in five years.

 

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FARMING

New mad cow disease case detected

 

A new case of BSE has been detected in the Canton of St. Gallen, the first in five years.

 

The Swiss Federal Veterinary Office said the new case has been detected in a dead cow in a farm near St. Gallen, northeastern Switzerland.

Tests have shown it is a strain of atypical BSE (bovine spongiform encephalopathy) that, unlike typical BSE, is believed to rise spontaneously, rather than resulting from transmission through feed or the environment. Atypical BSE has been diagnosed in older cows across Europe.

The animal was born in September 2003, two and a half years after a total ban of animal feed came into force in Switzerland and the rest of Europe.

The latest case of mad cow disease in the country dates back to 2006, the office said in a statement.

Experts say the situation in Switzerland remains overall positive, but warn that isolated strains of BSE can still occur.

Since the first case was detected in 1990, Switzerland recorded a total of 464 cases of mad cow disease, the statement said. 

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SWISS CHEESE

How Switzerland is protecting its cheeses from foreign influence

Neutral Switzerland has not been involved in any foreign wars for centuries, but lately the country has been doing battle over its cheese.

How Switzerland is protecting its cheeses from foreign influence

Makers of the country’s iconic Emmental and Gruyère cheeses have been locked in legal battles to protect their product from inferior foreign imitations. 

Named after the Bern’s Emmental valley where it is produced, the Emmental cheese has a distinctly mild and nutty taste and is also the only Swiss cheese with holes, which “range from the size of cherries to the size of nuts and are formed during the maturation process”, according to Switzerland Cheese Marketing board.

In Switzerland, the Emmental is protected by an AOP — Appellation d’Origine Protégée, which means the product is entirely made in its region of origin.

This label also means the cheese must meet strict criteria, such as the size of the holes, which should ideally be between two and four centimetres in diameter.

However, the Emmental is also made in France and Germany, but Swiss producers claim foreign cheese does not meet the same exacting standards and has little to do with the original recipe.

They have been fighting for years for better protection of the brand manufactured and sold outside Switzerland, but to avail: the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) ruled that “Emmental” doesn’t designate the geographical origin of the product, but only a certain type of cheese with holes.

This decision really cheesed the Swiss off and they filed a complaint against EUIPO’s decision with the General Court of the European Union, which will begin deliberations in September.

READ MORE: Ten varieties of cheese you should be able to identify if you live in Switzerland

However, the Emmental is not the only Swiss cheese caught up in an international legal tangle; Gruyère suffered a similar fate.

An American court ruled in January 2022 that ‘Gruyere cheese’ does not have to be made in the Gruyères region — or even in Switzerland, for that matter —in order to bear the name. 

Swiss cheesemakers said they would appeal the US ruling, but in the meantime the verdict grates on their nerves.

“Gruyère represents a centuries-old traditional recipe, and a region of Switzerland,” an angry Philippe Bardet, director of the Association of Swiss Gruyère Producers, told Switzerland’s Blick newspaper.

“When consumers buy a Gruyère in the United States, they have no idea what awaits them”, he said. “Does the cheese have holes? What milk was it made with?”

Bardet pointed out that Swiss Gruyère producers use only raw milk from cows that eat natural food  — pasture grass in summer and hay in winter .

But in  America, “they use cheap milk”, he said. 

READ MORE: Why are Swiss angry with Americans about Gruyere cheese?

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