On Sunday, Swiss voters will get to decide on two initiative related to food.
The first is the Fair Food Initiative, a proposal aimed at making food healthier and its production more environmentally friendly.
It calls on the government to promote environmentally sound, animal-friendly and fairly produced food by introducing new requirements for Swiss produce and and imported food.
Standards would be set and compliance checks introduced. In addition, the government would be required to reduce the impact of food transport and prevent food wastage.
The government is overwhelmingly against this initiative, arguing that it would be an unnecessary layer of regulation for something that is already covered by existing rules. In addition, it fears the rules would contravene international agreements and be difficult and costly to police.
The second food related initiative, entitled the Popular Initiative For food sovereignty, sponsored by the farmers’ union Uniterre, is aimed at ensuring Switzerland preserves it current farming model. The initiators argue that allowing foreign agricultural produce into the Swiss market is harmful to the sector. They want new rules and higher import duties to protect the traditional model of Swiss farming centred on small family farms.
The government is overwhelmingly against this plan because it would lead to greater state intervention, additional costs for consumers and taxpayers and restrict innovation in the farming industry. It is also concerned the new rules would contravene some international agreements.
Government information on Fair Food Initiative (in French)
Government information on Popular Initiative For food sovereignty (in French) – Take a 5 minute French test now