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Organic farming

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An organic farm proudly advertises its eggs, using the white bud in a green circle under which organic food is marketed.©

Switzerland lays great stress on environmentally friendly farming, although it involves greater costs.

Many Swiss consumers are concerned about healthy eating. As in other countries, the debate over genetically modified foods is in full swing. All food containing genetically modified ingredients has to be clearly labelled as such, with the words "genetically modified" spelled out on the packaging. Abbreviations are not allowed.

There was an upsurge in the number of farms producing organic food in the 1990s. By 2009 some 11.1% of all farms had been awarded the organic symbol: a white bud in a green circle. Organic farming is particularly popular in mountain areas. Figures issued by the Federal Statistical Office showed that in 2009 20% of mountain farms were organic. That year the Swiss spent 170 francs per head on organic produce, in particular vegetables, fruit and eggs.

Of all European countries Switzerland, along with Austria, has the highest proportion of usable land given over to organic farming.

In 1992 Switzerland announced that battery chicken farming was to be phased out - another world first. The addition of antibiotics to animal feed has been forbidden since 1998. Hormones are also banned. But such strict regulations put farmers under pressure when it comes to producing food at prices consumers are willing to pay.

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