`Quality Controls in Europe Need Improvement, Study Finds

Europe

Quality Controls in Europe Need Improvement, Study Finds

Feb. 14, 2020
Costas Vasilopoulos

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The Euro­pean Union released a study on qual­ity con­trols per­formed by the olive oil-pro­duc­ing states.

Require­ments per­tain­ing to the olive oil sec­tor are con­tained in the Com­mon Mar­ket Orga­ni­za­tion (CMO) reg­u­la­tion, includ­ing mar­ket­ing, label­ing, and pack­ag­ing rules and a set of def­i­n­i­tions, des­ig­na­tions and olive oil sales descrip­tions.

Olive oil is con­sid­ered at high risk of fraud due to its eco­nomic value com­pared with other food prod­ucts, the study stressed, with reg­u­la­tions in place to pre­vent fraud­u­lent prac­tices and improve the qual­ity of Euro­pean oils.

The pro­duc­ing Mem­ber States are respon­si­ble for per­form­ing a min­i­mum num­ber of con­trols each year to con­firm that dis­trib­u­tors and retail­ers com­ply with the require­ments.

The study found that the con­for­mity checks con­cern­ing con­sumers’ pro­tec­tion and busi­ness-to-con­sumer fair trade prac­tices were suf­fi­cient, while other areas like the exis­tence of a level play­ing field and the sound oper­a­tion of the inter­nal olive oil mar­ket need to be inspected and improved.

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In terms of vio­la­tions, the most com­mon cases observed dur­ing the checks were sell­ing vir­gin olive oil as extra vir­gin, and mar­ket­ing blends of other veg­etable oils with olive oil as pure olive oil.

Fur­ther­more, the exist­ing con­for­mity check eval­u­a­tion sys­tem needs to be upgraded, the study stated, to ensure that more resources in terms of staff and finance are involved. Coop­er­a­tion and coor­di­na­tion among national and regional author­i­ties need to be improved.

There are nine pro­duc­ing Mem­ber States (Spain, Italy, Greece, Por­tu­gal, France, Slove­nia, Croa­tia, Malta and Cyprus) account­ing for 69 per­cent of the global pro­duc­tion of olive oil. The largest non-pro­duc­ing con­sumer is Ger­many, absorb­ing around four per­cent of the EU’s olive oil.



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