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Swiss fear wurst iconic shortage

The campaign to save Switzerland's national sausage is so dire that even politicians are joining the cause.

by: AFP | 07 Mar 2008

The cervelat has come under threat after a ban was slapped on Brazilian cows – whose intestines are a vital ingredient in the sausage's skin – over mad cow disease concerns in 2006.

Economy minister Doris Leuthard assured parliament that the long-term target is to be able to import Brazilian cow's intestines again, once a review is done to ascertain that the produce is safe for import.

However, in the meantime, there needs to be a Plan B, she said, suggesting that alternative materials such as collagen or artificial intestines be used in place.

But Rolf Buettiker, a parliamentarian and chairman of the Swiss meat manufacturers association, noted that stocks of intestines currently available will only suffice until the end of the year.

He warned that the problem should not be underestimated, and said that in the cervelat there is a mixture of "down-to-earth simplicity, the romanticism of the campfire, and national pride".

Some 160 million cervelats are consumed in Switzerland each year, and there are fears that the ban would result in a cervelat shortage during the Euro 2008 football championships taking place in June.

In January, a multi-disciplinary taskforce of veterinarians, meat producers, and bureaucrats was created to save the cervelat.

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