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Sport

Swiss government says Euro 2008 fans can have their chips

Freshly picked, organically grown potatoes sit in a basket on an allotment in the village of Lane End, Buckinghamshire, southern England, June 23, 2007. REUTERS/Simon Newman

BERNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - The Swiss government has agreed to ease restrictions on the importation of potatoes following fears that Euro 2008 football fans could face a shortage of French fries next month.

A spokesman for the country’s department of agriculture told national radio on Wednesday that the government would allow an additional 5,000 tonnes of potatoes to be brought in.

The decision follows a request by Swiss potato industry association Swisspatat who warned that supplies were already running low in the buildup to the June tournament.

The association has estimated that 3,000 additional tonnes will be needed to make chips for foreign supporters, with the remaining 2,000 used for other forms of potato.

Switzerland has already been fretting over dwindling supplies of its beloved ‘cervelat’ sausage following a European Union ban on the Brazilian cows’ intestines traditionally used to encase the meat.

Economics minister Doris Leuthard, who is also responsible for agriculture, told the national parliament in March there were enough cervelats in reserve to last at least through Euro 2008.

The tournament runs from June 7 to 29 and will be co-hosted by Switzerland and neighbouring Austria.

Editing by Clare Lovell

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