The Swiss government introduced new rules Wednesday to protect products from the Alpine region. From the beginning of next year, the label "Alpine" can only be used for products that abide by the region's regulations.

"/> The Swiss government introduced new rules Wednesday to protect products from the Alpine region. From the beginning of next year, the label "Alpine" can only be used for products that abide by the region's regulations.

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FARMING

Federal Council moves to protect “Alpine” label

The Swiss government introduced new rules Wednesday to protect products from the Alpine region. From the beginning of next year, the label "Alpine" can only be used for products that abide by the region's regulations.

Once the new regulations come into force next January, the term “Alpine” can only be used to market dairy and meat products if they fulfil special conditions and have been approved by a certification office.

Terms that attempt to evade the rules, like “Alp Beef” or “Mountain Tea,” will also not be allowed, the Department of Economic Affairs declared.

The Federal Council has also introduced new regulations in response to the recent dioxin scandal and fears over irradiated food imported from Japan.

In the future, the department of agriculture will be able to demand a certificate to guarantee that seed, seedlings, fertilizer, pesticide and animal feed has not been polluted or irradiated.

The government also announced that Switzerland would fall in line with European Union regulations on feeding slops to pigs.

Since 2006, it has been illegal to feed pork slops to pigs in the EU. The Swiss government agreed to abide by the regulation in order to protect Swiss exports, but managed to negotiate a transition period so that the country’s pig farmers could adapt their production.

bk/The Local

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FOOD & DRINK

Zurich mandates organic food for hospitals, schools and cafeterias

Hospitals, schools, canteens and a range of other venues in Zurich will need to ensure the majority of their food is organic, after the council passed an initiative.

Zurich mandates organic food for hospitals, schools and cafeterias

The initiative, passed on Wednesday by 71 votes to 41, stipulates that at least 50 percent of the offerings must be organic. 

It applies to retirement and care centres, hospitals, day care centres, schools, canteens and cafeterias. 

QUIZ: Would you pass Zurich’s Swiss citizenship test?

Environment and Health Director Andreas Hauri acknowledged that there may be some problems in converting over to organic food, but said he was “convinced we can still increase the proportion”. 

The city said it will now begin to examine how it can boost the proportion of organic foods to the required levels. 

The city’s nutrition strategy already calls for a greater amount of food from the surrounding region, but had previously been silent on the amount of organic food that should be included. 

While the initiative passed, there was some opposition from the right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP). 

The SVP said the change was “far removed from decency and reality”, arguing that it sent the wrong signals to developing countries. 

READ MORE: Will Switzerland be able to feed itself in the future?

The initiative is “an affront to people in poor countries who do not know how to feed themselves” said the SVP’s Johann Widmer. 

The Free Democratic Party (FDP) also opposed the change, saying it was unclear how the new standards would be implemented. 

Martina Zürcher asked how the 50 percent requirement should be measured. 

“In kilograms? In francs?” she said. 

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