BERN - The discovery of pork traces in halal food in several stores is shocking the Muslim community in Switzerland and igniting debates for launching a Swiss halal label.
Sample analysis show a very low proportion of pork meat, or less than 0.1 percent, the Swiss Central Islamic Council (CCIS) said in a statement cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP) on Tuesday, February 26.The CCIS has found traces of pork in halal kebabs in famous meat stalls in several Swiss cities including Bern, Biel, Zurich, Winterthur, Basel, Lucerne, Kreuzlingen, Lausanne and Geneva.
The test sampling was ordered by the Muslim group after being alarmed by the scandal that recently erupted in Germany where 7 percent of pork meat was found in meat for kebabs.
The CCIS said it was shocked by the discovery that pork traces were confirmed in seven out of 20 Swiss kebab samples tested.
Muslims do not eat pork and consider pigs and their meat filthy and unhealthy to eat.
The concept of halal, -- meaning permissible in Arabic -- has traditionally been applied to food.
Muslims should only eat meat from livestock slaughtered by a sharp knife from their necks, and the name of Allah, the Arabic word for God, must be mentioned.
Switzerland is home to an estimated 400,000 Muslims, out of a population of more than 7 million, most of whom are immigrants from Albania and elsewhere in the Balkans.
The discovery of pork traces has ignited debates about launching a Swiss halal label.
Since the end of 2011, the CCIS has been championing a campaign to launch a new agency for halal standards.
The leading organization also filed a complaint last October with the Swiss Association for Standardization (SNV) about the issue, which was blocked.
European countries have been marred by a horsemeat scandal over the past weeks.
Since the first horsemeat was discovered in frozen meals and burgers in Britain and Ireland last month, traces have been found in meat products across Europe.
Swedish furniture giant Ikea has withdrawn meatballs from sale in 14 European countries after tests in the Czech Republic found traces of horsemeat in a batch made in Sweden.
Swiss food giant Nestle also said it had found horse DNA in meat from the Spanish supplier, Servocar.The discovery comes as European agriculture ministers meet for talks expected to focus on the growing horsemeat scandal.