Swiss chocolate makers face inspections from American authorities to ensure their bonbons do not pose a bioterrorism threat in the US, according to a new report.
The Local) Because of the importance of the US market, chocolate manufacturers in
Switzerland are submitting to Uncle Sam’s intrusion in their factories
but they are not happy about it.
“The fact that a foreign
authority is involved in our Swiss businesses is unseemly,” Daniel
Bloch, of Chocolats Camille Bloch, told Handelszeitung, the
German-language business journal.
The newspaper has
discovered that the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plans to
inspect 21 chocolate factories and 18 dairies in Switzerland.
The move is part of the implementation of America’s Food Safety
Modernization Act, new legislation signed into law by President Barack
Obama last year that aims, among other things, to combat bioterrorism.
The FDA contends that imported food could be contaminated chemically or even in a radioactive way.
Handelszeitung said Swiss chocolate makers are astonished to be subjected to such screening from a foreign country.
“The companies will let the inspections go through because they want
to continue to sell to the US,” Franz Schmid, director of the industry
association Chocosuisse told the newspaper.
planned inspections appear to go well beyond health issues to include
such details as sales, ownership, employees and the size of company
“We ask ourselves, what is the real reason for the
FDA inspections,” Jacques Gygax, director of the Swiss dairy
association Fromarte, told Handelszeitung.
Gygax fears the Americans may be looking for technical barriers to trade and imports.