Furs and fur products sold in Switzerland must be labelled very clearly and legibly so that consumers are sufficiently informed before making their choice. The FSVO inspects the products marketed in Switzerland.
The declaring of furs needs to be improved
In the period 2019/2020, as in previous years, the FSVO carried out risk-based inspections. Small shops, online outlets and large retail chains alike were all inspected. Of the 180 inspections carried out, 142 (79%) led to rejections. In 110 of these cases, the shortcomings were rectified within the time limit. Orders were issued in 32 cases and criminal proceedings instituted in four cases.
Since the Fur Declaration Ordinance entered into force in 2013, the Federal Food Safety and Veterinary Office (FSVO) has been carrying out inspections. The high rejection rate shows that fur declarations are still not being implemented correctly at many points of sale and that significant knowledge gaps remain in the sector. Given that the rejection rate is still too high, the FSVO will intensify its educational work in the future while also tightening up on enforcement.
For consumers the distinction between real fur and synthetic fur is not always obvious. A declaration of furs is correct and complete if it states “real fur” and specifies the species of animal, the scientific name, the country of origin and the method for producing the pelt (hunting and breeding). This information must be clearly visible on the product and easily legible in at least one official language.
Since the Ordinance on the declaration of furs and fur products (ODFourr), came into force in 2013 all the stakeholders in the market who market furs and fur products in Switzerland must include this information. The Ordinance does not cover imports, only trade in Switzerland,also including second-hand shops.
Improving consumer information
The aim of the Ordinance is to provide better information for consumers on the methods of fur production and therefore to give them the opportunity to choose, from a position of knowledge, whether to purchase a product with fur or not. It is based on the Consumer Information Act (LIC). Switzerland is the only country to have such legislation.
The Ordinance applies to all furs and all fur products originating from mammals with the exception of
- equine, bovine, porcine, ovine and caprine species;
- llamas and alpacas.
Therefore, wool products (e.g. Angora) and leather products are not affected.
The FSVO carries out its inspections at sales outlets and on the internet to verify that the information provided corresponds to the information required by the Ordinance.
These inspections are mainly performed using random samples but also sometimes in a more targeted way based on sound information, such as disclosures or breaches noted during previous inspections.
If the declaration requirement is infringed, the person committing the violation will be liable to a fee covering the costs of the inspection. The fee is calculated based on the time required for the inspection. Depending on the type of infringement, a fine may also be imposed in accordance with Article 11 of the Consumer Information Act.
Last modification 15.10.2020