Chemical tests and consultancy


Every day, we use products that are imported into Switzerland from a wide variety of countries. This includes food, cosmetics, cleaning agents, fuels as well as other goods. In order to ensure proper handling of international trade and commerce, these products are subject to chemical or physical analysis for certain material properties. We provide analysis and consulting services in this area.

We investigate goods in cross-border trade to check for conformity with customs legislation. We perform analyses that allow correct customs tariff classification and verify the calculation of various taxes and duties (mineral oil tax, spirits tax, VOC incentive tax, beer tax, salt monopoly) as required.

The client for these services is the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security FOCBS; however, the services are also available to other clients.

In the area of alcohol analysis (spirits, food containing alcohol, industrial alcohol, denaturants), we assist customers in monitoring the quality of their products and provide consulting on analytical questions related to the spirits tax.

In order to ensure high-quality, efficient analyses, our work complies with the standard SN EN ISO/IEC 17025:2017 and we are accredited accordingly (STS 0119).


The “Chemical tests and consultancy” technical field offers a wide range of analyses for food, alcoholic beverages, mineral oil products and biofuels, chemical products as well as other products.

In the area of food, the tests include in particular:

  • Fat content determination (total fat, milk fat, triglycerides, FAME)
  • Sugar determination (sucrose, glucose, fructose, lactose, maltose)
  • Determination of protein content using the nitrogen-based Kjeldahl method
  • Enzymatic determination of starch and maltodextrine
  • Determination of common salt
  • Determination of minerals
  • Determination of fermentation alcohol and added alcohol in food

In the area of alcoholic beverages (wine, beer, spirits, etc.):

  • Alcohol determination
  • Sugar determination
  • Original gravity of beers
  • Determination of typical as well as atypical ingredients such as methanol, higher alcohols, thujone, asarone, ethyl carbamate, etc.

In the area of mineral oil products and biofuels:

  • Determination of sulphur content in heating oil, diesel oil and petrol
  • Determination of bioethanol content in fuels
  • Verification of biodiesel and its source materials by determining fatty acid methyl ester (FAME), as well as determination of additives
  • Mixtures (e.g. additives) of biofuels and fuels
  • Marker and dye content in heating oil and diesel oil

In the area of chemical products and other products:

  • Industrial ethanol including determination of by-products
  • Determination of denaturants
  • Determination of volatile organic compounds (VOC)
  • Determination of plastic materials

The analysis results are used, for example, as the basis for calculating the incentive tax on volatile organic compounds (VOC), for checks related to the spirits tax, beer tax, salt monopoly and mineral oil tax, or for correct customs tariff classification of products.

Although these services are mainly rendered for the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security FOCBS, other customers are welcome to take advantage of the services provided by the laboratory, too.

Do you have any questions or need assistance? Feel free to contact us – we would be happy to help you.

Last modification 18.07.2024

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Federal Institut of Metrology
Field Chemical tests and consultancy
Lindenweg 50
CH-3003 Bern-Wabern
T +41 58 387 01 11

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