Swiss voters ‘reject fair food plans’

A number of people examine fresh produce at a farmer's market

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Local, high-quality food is already popular – but the Swiss do not seem to want to pay more for ethical farming

Voters in Switzerland appear to have overwhelmingly rejected two proposals on ethical and sustainable food.

Initial projections suggest the two initiatives have been defeated by no votes of over 60%.

The proposals were aimed at boosting local farming and promoting more sustainable agriculture.

But opponents, including business leaders and the government – which had advised people to vote no – had warned of higher food prices and less choice.

The size of the defeat will be a big disappointment to farmers’ groups and ethical food campaigners, says the BBC’s Imogen Foulkes in Geneva.

They were buoyed by initial opinion polls showing 70% of voters backed their call for more support for local food production, and for foreign food producers to adopt Swiss standards on sustainable agriculture and animal welfare.

But a strong campaign by the government and business leaders argued the measures would be unenforceable and would lead to higher food prices and less choice.

Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann had called them “dangerous” and said they could trigger tariff increases and other reprisals from trading partners.

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