• Switzerland's news in English

Specialist says Swiss eat too much salty cheese

Malcolm Curtis · 15 Apr 2014, 21:31

Published: 15 Apr 2014 21:31 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Fred Paccaud, from Lausanne’s university hospital system (CHUV), is making waves with an article he published in the online Swiss Medical Forum that calls on Swiss to cut their consumption of food containing salt — including cheese.

In the article Paccaud, director of CHUV’s university institute for social and preventive medicine, worries about the high level of salt in many of the Swiss cheeses.

A high intake of salt has been linked with increased risks of heart disease.

While the World Health Organization recommends a daily intake of five grammes of salt per day, the Swiss consume between eight and 12 grams a day, according to federal government estimates.

Paccaud pointed to bread and cheese as the main causes of this high salt intake.

By reducing this intake, Switzerland could reduce the number of premature deaths in the country by 1,450 a year, he estimated.

Yet, only a third of the Swiss population realize that high levels of salt are harmful to their health, according to a survey, Paccaud said.

The Swiss federal health office, recognizing the issues, launched a 2008-12 strategy that aimed to reduce per capita salt consumption in Switzerland to eight grams a day, a goal the office admits was not met.

Paccaud is recommending that Swiss eat less cheese and that producers cut the amount of salt they use in their products.

Producers are evidently conscious of the concerns.

“We notice that people tend to want to eat food with a level of less and less salt,” Daniel Koller, of the Swiss dairy producers association is quoted as saying by 20 Minutes in a report published on Tuesday.

Koller said it is necessary to adapt to the tastes and wishes of of consumers, which vary over the course of time.

Kurt Schnebli, from Fromarte, the Swiss association of Swiss cheese artisans, said producers have been contacted about reducing the amount of salt in their cheeses.

The only problem is that, for cheeses like gruyére, salt is used as an agent to prevent cheese from going bad during the maturing process.

Story continues below…

“We are searching for solutions to know just a what level we can lower the level of salt, but we refuse to reduce it if the safety of the product is not assured,” Schnebli told 20 Minutes.

A study by agricultural scientists at Agroscope revealed that the level of salt could be reduced by as much as 30 percent in numerous Swiss cheeses.

Researchers believe that the amount could even be cut in gruyere, regarded as the saltiest cheese made in Switzerland.

But consumers need to be careful with foreign cheeses too.

When it comes to sodium chloride, varieties such as Roquefort from France and feta from Greece and other countries are even saltier.

Malcolm Curtis (news@thelocal.ch)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Montreux throws hat in Olympic rings
Could Montreux host the 2026 Games? Photo: Ivo Scholz/Swiss Tourism

Montreux is to put itself forward as the host city for the 2026 winter Olympics as part of a potential bid by the cantons of Valais and Vaud.

Geneva car share scheme could help reduce city traffic
Catch a Car is aimed at short hops within a city. Photo: Catch a Car

Catch a Car, already in Basel, launches in Geneva next month.

Swiss women will ‘work for free’ for the rest of year
Female employees in Switzerland earn 19.3 percent less than their male colleagues. File photo: Randy Kashka

Switzerland's gender pay gap means from today, Friday October 21st, women in the country will effectively be working for free for the rest of 2016.

Swiss luxury watches stolen in Paris raid
Police outside the Girard-Perregaux watch store on Thursday. Photo: Bertrand Guay/AFP

The 10 Girard-Perregaux watches are worth half a million euros in total.

Brother-in-law arrested over murder of Swiss teacher
The victim worked in a school in Stabio, near the town of Mendrisio. Photo: Oliver Graf

The primary school teacher was found dead in Ticino earlier this week.

Inside Switzerland’s largest nuclear bunker – 40 years on
Designed to house 20,000 people, the bunker was built in and over two motorway tunnels. Photo: Unterirdisch Ueberleben

The Local takes a tour of the Sonnenberg bunker in Lucerne, opened 40 years ago at the height of the Cold War.

Ten Swiss ski resorts named most expensive in Europe
File photo: Renato Bagattini/Swiss Tourism

Skiers in Switzerland pay the highest prices for their ski passes of anywhere in Europe, according to research.

Eco group fights Bern over wind farm plans
There are currently more than 30 wind farms in Switzerland. Photo: Alpiq

Wind turbines are “gigantic and destructive” machines, says Paysage Libre Suisse.

Vegan wins battle to be accepted by Swiss army
Antoni Da Campo will now carry out his military service. Photo: Antoni Da Campo

A Swiss man who was told he would not be accepted for military service because of his strict veganism has finally succeeded in making the army change its mind.

Geneva terror suspects to receive compensation
File photo: Emran Kassim

The Swiss public prosecutor has dropped the case against them.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: Richard Juilliard/AFP
Man makes Geneva airport bomb threat ‘for a joke’
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Solar Impulse team reveals plans for unmanned plane
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Swiss to vote on passport rules for 3rd gen foreigners
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Photo: AFP
Swiss wingsuit hotspot Lauterbrunnen won’t impose ban
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Six reasons Switzerland isn’t as boring as you might think
Photo: Swiss Tourism
Report: Switzerland one of world’s best places for girls
Photo: The Local
Thief returns Swiss cow bells worth thousands
File photo: Wikimedia Commons
One in three rapists isn’t locked up: statistics
Photo: activistin.ch
Tampon-tax protest turns Zurich fountains red
Photo: AFP
Geneva police to lift ban on bearded officers
Photo: Marcel Gillieron/AFP
Suicide chef’s restaurant keeps Michelin stars
Photo: Lara de Salis
11 things the Swiss get tired of hearing abroad
Photo:  Ivo Scholz/Swiss-image.ch
Survey: expats in Switzerland have money but few friends
Photo: AFP
Swiss press criticize Bern’s 'capitulation' on immigration
Photo: Jura Trois Lacs tourism
German ex-policeman is Swiss city’s new hermit
Photo: Dmitry A. Mottl
Ticino votes to favour local workers over foreigners
Photo: file
Some deodorants could cause breast cancer: Swiss study
Photo: Royal Savoy
In pictures: Inside the latest Swiss luxury hotel
Photo: AFP
Geneva airport bomb hoaxer faces 90,000-franc bill
Photo: Schaffhausen police
Mother leaves toddler son alone in car to go clubbing
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Swiss populist attacked by knife-wielding pensioner
Photo: File
Bern argues over passports for 3rd generation foreigners
Photo: Broad Bean Media
Muslim pupils must shake hands – ‘no ifs and buts’
jobs available