`European Exporters Ask Taiwan to Stop Shunning Their Olive Pomace Oil - Olive Oil Times

European Exporters Ask Taiwan to Stop Shunning Their Olive Pomace Oil

Jan. 27, 2014
Julie Butler

Recent News

Port of Kaohsiung

Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) met with a European del­e­ga­tion in Taipei today over its con­tin­u­ing refusal of cer­tain ship­ments of olive pomace oil on the grounds they con­tain a green col­orant.

Olive Oil Times has been told that the del­e­ga­tion included experts in olive oil chem­istry from Italy and Spain as well as rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the European Commission but no infor­ma­tion was released on the meet­ing out­come.

ASSITOL EXPLAINS: Letter from Assitol con­cern­ing Taiwan’s refusal of olive pomace oil ship­ments

Sources say they planned to present research to the TFDA to back their claim that a test it is using could be pro­duc­ing false pos­i­tives for the addi­tive — cop­per chloro­phyll — in the case of olive pomace and grape­seed oils.

Taiwan is tak­ing a hard-line stance on import test­ing in the wake of a wider food scan­dal, one aspect of which involved rev­e­la­tions of cheaper cot­ton­seed oil being greened up” with the col­orant and sold as olive oil to Taiwanese con­sumers.


But as pre­vi­ously reported, some Spanish and Italian edi­ble oil experts have warned that a low level of cop­per chloro­phyll can occur nat­u­rally in olive pomace oil and grape­seed oils and cause a pos­i­tive result in tests for the non-statu­tory col­orant.

Italy’s pow­er­ful olive oil trade asso­ci­a­tion, Assitol, told Olive Oil Times ear­lier this month it was seek­ing a meet­ing with the TFDA to dis­cuss the issue. And the International Olive Council (IOC) said its group of chem­istry experts was research­ing the mat­ter and had asked Taiwan for all rel­e­vant infor­ma­tion.

Since December 25, the TFDA has pub­lished at least seven notices about the refusal of oil ship­ments on the grounds they tested pos­i­tive for cop­per chloro­phyll:

- January 22: two notices regard­ing olive pomace oil from Italian com­pany Olearia Clemente SRL, one regard­ing refusal of a ship­ment of more than 700 1L bot­tles (a total of nearly 660kg) and another for 320 5L tins (1,465 kg);

- January 15: three refusal notices, the biggest affected ship­ment being 6,000kg from Spain’s Vidoria SL, and the oth­ers from the Italian com­pa­nies Santagata Luigi SRL, for 2,160kg of olive pomace oil, and Erregi SRL, for 55kg of Castello brand extra vir­gin olive oil bot­tles;

- January 2: 16,708kg olive pomace oil from Italy’s Olitalia SRL;

- December 25: 8,000 kg olive pomace oil again from Spain’s Vidoria SL.

In the last month, a Thai fish sauce and Korean choco­lates were among other imports refused over use of non-statu­tory col­orants. The TFDA has also recently refused var­i­ous foods over irreg­u­lar­i­ties detected in pes­ti­cide residue lev­els, includ­ing Indian sesame seeds; Thai chili pow­der; Japanese straw­ber­ries, grapes and sat­suma man­darins, and Chilean cher­ries.

Olive pomace oil is made from the residue left after pro­duc­ing vir­gin olive oil and is used widely in the food ser­vice and food pro­duc­tion sec­tors. According to the IOC, world imports of olive pomace oil totaled 53,500 tons in 2012/13. Taiwan accounted for just 504 tons — less than 1 per­cent — but there are fears the scan­dal there could affect more impor­tant mar­kets, such as the United States, which took 10,621 tons — just under a fifth of the total — and is the world’s biggest olive pomace oil importer.

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