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Last Updated: Tuesday, 15 January 2008, 06:52 GMT
Sausage shortage looms for Swiss
A European sausage counter (generic image)
Producers hope an exception can be made for the Cervelat
Swiss butchers have raised the alarm over a shortage of the Brazilian cows' intestines used to wrap the nation's favourite sausage, the Cervelat.

The Swiss Meat Association says dwindling stocks may run out by the summer, when football fans descend for the Euro 2008 championship.

Although Switzerland is not a member of the European Union, it does accept import rules handed down by Brussels.

And BSE fears have led to curbs on the purchase of the intestines.

Around 160 million of the sausages are eaten in Switzerland every year.

They are made of beef, bacon and pork rind and then wrapped in intestine, and can be boiled, grilled or eaten raw.

A joint "Task Force Cervelat" composed of scientists, bureaucrats and industry representatives has been formed to tackle the sausage crisis.

"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," said Swiss Meat Association spokesman Balz Horber.

Though the Swiss are looking at alternative suppliers including Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and South Africa, they "would much rather stick with Brazil", he added.

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