`China Scrutinizes Olive Oil Imports from Italy - Olive Oil Times

China Scrutinizes Olive Oil Imports from Italy

Jan. 7, 2012
Vikas Vij

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China’s qual­ity watch­dog, Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ), has asked its local quar­an­tine and inspec­tion organs to care­fully scru­ti­nize the olive oil imports from Italy. It has urged Chinese importers to pay more atten­tion to the qual­ity of the Italian olive oil they are import­ing.

This unex­pected action comes after reports in China that four out of five bot­tles of olive oil from Italy were adul­ter­ated with infe­rior qual­ity oil from other coun­tries. Following these reports, the AQSIQ has requested the Italian embassy to look into the truth of this mat­ter and pro­vide it more spe­cific infor­ma­tion. The AQSIQ has also urged Italy to fur­ther improve the qual­ity con­trol and man­age­ment of its olive oil exports to China.

The prob­lem came to light in December when the La Repubblica news­pa­per pub­lished the results of a probe into Italy’s olive oil exports and inves­ti­ga­tion into the con­duct of 13 unnamed Italian olive oil exporters. This led to spec­u­la­tion that about 80 per­cent of China’s olive oil imports car­ry­ing the label Made in Italy” were actu­ally mixed with lower qual­i­ties of olive oil from Spain, Greece and Tunisia.

Italy exports 250,000 met­ric tons of olive oil each year, while it imports nearly dou­ble of that vol­ume. Last year Italy’s olive oil imports showed an increase of nearly 100,000 tons, which led the author­i­ties to inves­ti­gate where such large quan­ti­ties of imports ended up. Statistics reveal that nearly 37.5 per­cent of China’s olive oil imports come from Italy, which makes Italy the sec­ond largest olive oil exporter to China after Spain.

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