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Dioxin residues found in Swiss meat

Swiss meat is affected by residues of poisonous substances, according to a report by the Swiss Farmers Association. The levels of such substances were revealed to be above the maximum permitted in the EU in a random sample taken.

The substances in question are residues of Dioxin and Polychloride Biphenyl (PCB) which can enter the food chain via contamination of feed and accumulate in the fat of animal food products. They can be found in pork, beef, veal and poultry.

A bilateral agreement between the EU and Switzerland was signed involving the enforcement of the EU maximum of such residues in Swiss meat. Switzerland is required to reduce the current levels of these substances even though the amounts have lowered in the last few years.

For this reason, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (BAG) has announced that it is carrying out research into the levels of dioxin and PCB in meat. Together with Agroscope Liebefeld-Posieux Research Station (ALP) and a number of Federal Research offices, an programme has been drawn-up to investigate why levels of these substances are higher than in neighbouring EU countries. The focus is on PCB.

In the first phase, the following questions will be addressed:

  • Which factors influence PCB in meat? (seasonal fluctuations, geographical situation, age of animals and weather conditions)
  • What are the links between PCB in meat and in feed?


The BAG has stated that there is no evidence of a "higher risk" through consumption of Swiss meat. On the other hand, it does acknowledge that part of the population of Europe is consuming more than the WHO-recommended amounts of residues.

Related website: 

• Schweizer Landwirtschaft

• Bundesamt für Gesundheit 

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