Swiss Aim to Save National Sausage

MJMANDALAY

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Jan 14, 11:41 AM EST

GENEVA (AP) -- Cervelat sausage - a much-loved Swiss specialty - could be off the menu by the end of the year because of a lack of key ingredients, the country's meat producers said Monday.

A joint "task force cervelat" composed of scientists, bureaucrats and industry representatives has been convened to tackle the crisis caused by a shortfall in Brazilian cows' intestines used to encase the nation's favorite sausage, the Swiss meat association said.

"We can't say precisely when stocks will run out, but some producers are telling us it could be as soon as this summer," said Balz Horber, a spokesman for the association. "Others are saying they might last till the end of the year."

Some 160 million cervelats are consumed raw, boiled or grilled every year in this nation of 7 million people. Producers were hoping to profit from the hunger of tens of thousands of soccer fans expected to descend on the Alpine nation this year for the final round of the 2008 European championships.

But now the lightly smoked sausage has fallen victim to European Union restrictions on the import of cows intestines from Brazil because of fears over mad cow disease - bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or BSE.

Switzerland is not a member of the EU but accepts import rules handed down by Brussels for economic reasons.

Producers say the EU's own scientists consider meat products from Brazil to have a low risk of carrying BSE.

"We're under no illusion that we can get Brussels to change its rules quickly, so we're hoping that they will make an exception for Switzerland," Horber said.

In the meantime, the Swiss sausage industry is considering alternative suppliers, including Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and South Africa. But they fear only Brazil can supply enough of the intestines, which come from Zebu cattle, which are particularly well-suited to the Swiss sausage and the different ways it can be prepared and consumed, he said.

"These would all be stopgaps," Horber said. "We would much rather stick with Brazil."
 

HummerTuesdays

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#2
What if they made them smaller. Say, in 12oz size? There'd be more sausages to go around.
 

TheDrip

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Some 160 million cervelats are consumed raw, boiled or grilled every year

Mmmmm, raw sausage. That just screams healthy and safe.
 
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