`Europe Closer to Banning Refillable Olive Oil Cruets in Restaurants - Olive Oil Times

Europe Closer to Banning Refillable Olive Oil Cruets in Restaurants

Feb. 4, 2013
Julie Butler

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Reusable olive oil cruets would effec­tively be banned in restau­rants and cafes across the European Union from next year, under pro­posed changes before the European Commission. The draft amend­ments also show the EC favors new rules on when har­vest dates can appear on olive oil labels and the min­i­mum size of let­ter­ing for cer­tain label details.

The moves are in a bill (in French) recently posted online by the EC. Covering changes to EU reg­u­la­tion 29/2012 on mar­ket­ing stan­dards for olive oil, its intro­duc­tion says it’s intended to bet­ter pro­tect and inform consumers…and improve the effec­tive mon­i­tor­ing of com­pli­ance with these stan­dards.” It car­ries the dis­claimer that it is still sub­ject to inter­nal con­sul­ta­tion and will prob­a­bly change.

Among the mea­sures:

- Non-refill­able con­tain­ers: olive oils made avail­able to patrons in hotels, restau­rants and cafes must be in non-refill­able, prop­erly labeled pack­ag­ing.

This is to ensure the qual­ity and authen­tic­ity of these olive oils, the draft says.

- Label leg­i­bil­ity: cer­tain label details, under­stood to include the ori­gin of the oil, must appear in the main visual field on the con­tainer. This manda­tory infor­ma­tion must appear in let­ters with a min­i­mum height of: 2mm for vol­umes up to 25ml, 3mm for above 25 but no more than 100ml, and 4mm above100ml.

Good read­abil­ity is seen as impor­tant to aid con­sumer prod­uct selec­tion.

- Harvest date: this may appear on the label only if all the con­tents are of that har­vest.

Intended to help con­sumers ensure prod­uct fresh­ness.

- Storage con­di­tions: advice that olive oil should be stored away from light and heat must appear clearly on the pack­ag­ing or an attached label.

Designed to ensure con­sumers are prop­erly informed of opti­mal stor­age.

- Foods pre­served in olive oil alone: a cur­rent require­ment that labels for food­stuffs (other than sar­dines and tuna) pre­served in olive oil state the per­cent­age of the oil rel­a­tive to the total net weight of the food­stuff would cease. Instead, the label should say that the food­stuff has been pre­served only in olive oil.

To pro­vide more clar­ity for con­sumers.

- Penalties and checks: effec­tive, pro­por­tion­ate and dis­sua­sive penal­ties must be set at national level by each EU mem­ber state. They must also con­duct checks to ensure the truth of label state­ments and of com­pli­ance with the reg­u­la­tion. If irreg­u­lar­i­ties are found they must request an audit. They must also report to the EC each year with spec­i­fied details of these checks.

Transition period

It’s pro­posed that the changes apply from next January 1 in all EU mem­ber states. However, prod­ucts com­ply­ing with cur­rent rules which were made and labeled in, or imported into, the EU and in cir­cu­la­tion before 2014 could be sold until stocks run out.

More detail awaited on action plan for EU olive oil sec­tor

An indica­tive vote on the draft amend­ments is on the agenda of the EC’s Management Committee for the Common Organisation of Agricultural Markets meet­ing to be held in Brussels on February 6.

As pre­vi­ously reported by Olive Oil Times, the EC has also drafted sep­a­rate leg­is­la­tion to amend reg­u­la­tion 2568/91 on olive oil char­ac­ter­is­tics and analy­sis meth­ods. That bill, which would require mem­ber states to do at least one tar­geted check per 1000 tons of olive oil mar­keted within them and per­sons or enti­ties hold­ing olive oil keep a reg­is­ter of entries and with­drawals, is also on the agenda.

The two drafts con­tain some of the mea­sures floated by European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Cioloş in his action plan for the EU olive oil sec­tor, released last June for dis­cus­sion. He has yet to announce the final plan.



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