`EU Action Plan for Olive Oil Inching Forward - Olive Oil Times

EU Action Plan for Olive Oil Inching Forward

Oct. 30, 2012
Julie Butler

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A min­i­mum num­ber of tests on olive oil authen­tic­ity would have to con­ducted each year in the European Union under pro­posed anti-fraud mea­sures before a European Commission com­mit­tee.

And EU coun­tries would have to be more rig­or­ous in the details they gave the EC on their test­ing and any irreg­u­lar­i­ties found, as part of a pro­posed stan­dard­iza­tion of oblig­a­tory report­ing.

The moves are part of the EC’s Olive Oil Action Plan and were dis­cussed at a meet­ing of the Management Committee for the Common Organisation of Agricultural Markets on October 23.

Labeling: more promi­nent details of ori­gin

Steps to improve olive oil label­ing were also dis­cussed there, includ­ing pro­posed rules on the posi­tion­ing of infor­ma­tion and font size.

It’s been reported in the Italian press that the ori­gin of an olive oil would have to appear in the main visual field of label­ing — not on the back of a bot­tle — and in let­ter­ing of at least 5mm in the case of one liter pack­ag­ing and 2mm for smaller sizes.


The com­mit­tee is con­sid­er­ing var­i­ous mea­sures requir­ing amend­ment of key EU olive oil leg­is­la­tion, namely reg­u­la­tion 29/2012 on mar­ket­ing stan­dards for olive oil, and 2568/1991 on the char­ac­ter­is­tics of olive oil and olive-residue oil and on the rel­e­vant meth­ods of analy­sis.

Brussels sources say it is hoped that the com­mit­tee will be ready to vote on the amend­ments by the end of December or early January.

They say that though the EU’s olive oil pro­ducer coun­tries are gen­er­ally in favor of the changes, those from non-pro­ducer coun­tries fear the finan­cial bur­den of increased mon­i­tor­ing.

Non-refill­able olive oil con­tain­ers in restau­rants

Among other mea­sures in the pro­posed action plan, the com­mit­tee is still dis­cussing whether the EU’s restau­rant and hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor should be required to use one-way pack­ag­ing (non-refill­able con­tain­ers) for olive oil pro­vided for cus­tomers.

Chemical tests

Proposed changes to chem­i­cal test­ing meth­ods and qual­ity para­me­ters are await­ing deci­sion at the level of the International Olive Council (IOC), an EC agri­cul­ture spokesman said.

Similarly, a pro­posal to allow the IOC to admit coun­tries where olive oil is not pro­duced but is con­sumed is to be decided by the IOC’s Council of Members.

Price sup­port for farm­ers

Spain’s agri­cul­tural orga­ni­za­tions are among those sweat­ing on details of reform to pri­vate stor­age aid, a form of inter­ven­tion used when ex-mill prices are low.

They say the cur­rent trig­ger prices of 1779€/t for extra vir­gin, 1710€/t for vir­gin and 1524€/t for lam­pante are far too low.

Private stor­age aid trig­ger prices

Changes to the trig­ger prices are under­stood to be part of cur­rent dis­cus­sions at the level of the European Parliament and Council.

However, EC doc­u­ments show that early drafts of reg­u­la­tory change pro­posed rais­ing the trig­ger price for extra vir­gin alone, to 1980€/t, in the inter­ests of the qual­ity of the olive oil.”

But there were also var­i­ous pro­posed amend­ments sought by mem­bers of the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development, includ­ing one to increase the prices to 2357, 2266 and 2019€/t for the respec­tive trig­gers, on the grounds that the cur­rent prices which were set in 1998, must be increased since they no longer reflect the real sit­u­a­tion in the mar­ket.”

Private stor­age aid in 2012: €17 mil­lion

Documents form­ing part of the cur­rent EC gen­eral bud­get process say that pri­vate stor­age schemes for olive oil opened in February and May this year will have a finan­cial impact” of about €17 mil­lion ($22m) on the 2013 bud­get.


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