Comprehensive laws in Switzerland assure safe meat production at all levels, and the Federal Government and the Cantons guarantee quality assurance «from barn to plate» thanks to strict controls. Enterprises along the entire meat value creation chain work to ensure that they always supply high-quality meat fulfilling all health and hygiene standards.
The Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) is responsible at Federal level for the legal basis and for the coordination and overall supervision of the work of the Cantons.
Because Swiss agriculture aspires to the production of high-quality natural products, an exemplary quality assurance system has been established. This system consists of several levels:
QM Swiss Meat
Participation in the Quality Management system QM Swiss Meat is voluntary, but most farms hold the QM certification. The programme guarantees that the animals are kept in an environmentally sound manner which complies with the animal protection regulations. The livestock owner knows all the regulations and any changes made to them. His/her farm is checked regularly by independent organisations.
Swiss Veterinary Service
The responsible bodies at Federal Government and Cantonal level and the official veterinarians work closely together under the term «Swiss Veterinary Service» as the professional body for the welfare of animals.
Neutral quality classification
A neutral assessment of live and slaughtered animals creates transparency in quality classification and in pricing. This task is carried out by Proviande with the Swiss Classification and Quality System it has developed, CH-TAX. The result of the neutral classification serves as the basis for price agreements both for buyers as well as suppliers.
An important quality feature is the traceability of Swiss Meat from the shop counter to the slaughtering block – and from there to the farms on which the animals were born. A complete identification system and accurate accompanying documentation make this possible. Controls on the movement of animals also offer the possibility of combating any animal diseases promptly and in a targeted way.
Label production in Switzerland is very significant and is increasing. In the case of the most important types of animal, it is between 20 and 50%, and in suckler cow husbandry and extensive grazing on pastures it is almost 100%. The proportion of organic fresh meat was 4.47% in 2015. Permanent access to the outdoors and being kept in groups or in multiple area bays are important points within husbandry requirements imposed by the labels.