`Data on Italy’s Carryover Olive Oil Stocks Too 'Sensitive' to Release - Olive Oil Times

Data on Italy’s Carryover Olive Oil Stocks Too 'Sensitive' to Release

Apr. 10, 2014
Julie Butler

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Details of Italy’s olive oil stocks at the start of the cur­rent sea­son can’t be released because the com­mer­cially sen­si­tive infor­ma­tion” could dis­turb the mar­ket, the European Commission has told Olive Oil Times.

The Commission’s trans­parency unit was respond­ing to a request for details of Italy’s car­ry­over stocks for the last three years. It agreed to release the fig­ure for last year, said it found no doc­u­ments cov­er­ing that for the pre­vi­ous year – because the

oblig­a­tion to send the data started in July 2012 – and refused to release that for the cur­rent sea­son because this kind of infor­ma­tion can specif­i­cally influ­ence olive oil mar­ket prices and disturb…the mar­ket.” In such cases the data can only be released if there is an over­rid­ing pub­lic inter­est in dis­clo­sure,” which was not found to be the case, it said. Olive Oil Times has exer­cised its right to ask for a review of the deci­sion.

The data the Commission did release shows Italy declared olive oil pro­duc­tion of 409,140 tons, con­sump­tion of 695,000 tons and end-of-year stocks of 102,897 tons for the 2012/13 mar­ket­ing year, which runs from July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013.

Italian politi­cian queries 177,000 ton short­fall”

The infor­ma­tion on car­ry­over stocks was sought partly in response to a writ­ten ques­tion in the European Parliament in November by Italian MEP Mara Bizzotto (EFD). Headed Extra vir­gin olive oil made in Italy: one bot­tle in five fake”, the text of Bizzotto’s ques­tion said analy­sis of pro­duc­tion, import, export and con­sump­tion fig­ures showed that in Italy, there is not enough olive oil for every­one: there is a short­fall of 177,000 tons.” She went on to refer to scams such as sub­sti­tut­ing olive oil with cheaper seed oil, adding beta-carotene and chloro­phyll to give it a sim­i­lar appear­ance to that of the more prized prod­uct,” and asked what was being done to pro­tect Italian con­sumers. Bizzotto’s office said her let­ter was prompted by an arti­cle in Italy’s online con­sumer affairs mag­a­zine Il Salvagente.

Monthly updates avail­able on Spanish olive oil stocks

Provisional data pub­lished sep­a­rately by the Commission and sup­plied by the International Olive Council for Italy for the offi­cial olive oil sea­son – October 2012 to September 2013 – lists pro­duc­tion of 415,500 tons, con­sump­tion of 590,000 tons (an aver­age of 9.67kg for each of Italy’s esti­mated 61.5 mil­lion inhab­i­tants), exports of 336,400 tons and imports of 455,800 tons. This means the total of con­sump­tion and exports exceeded the total of pro­duc­tion and imports by 55,100 tons but the start­ing and fin­ish­ing stocks are not stated, nor is there a break­down for the extra vir­gin cat­e­gory.

In Spain, by far the world’s biggest olive oil pro­ducer, details of olive oil stocks are pub­lished online by the Food Chain Information Agency (AICA) and updated monthly.

Data sources:

European Commission EU olive oil data

International Olive Council mar­ket data

International Olive Council mar­ket data

Site where details of Spains olive oil stocks (exis­ten­cias in Spanish) are pub­lished by AICA

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