`European Union to Ban Refillable Olive Oil Cruets in Restaurants

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Europe to Ban Refillable Olive Oil Cruets in Restaurants

May. 16, 2013
Julie Butler

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Olive oil avail­able to con­sumers in food-serv­ing out­lets in the Euro­pean Union will have to be pack­aged in prop­erly-labeled, non-reusable con­tain­ers from next year, and olive oil labels must indi­cate the prod­uct descrip­tion and ori­gin in a more vis­i­ble and leg­i­ble way.

The mea­sures are among var­i­ous amend­ments planned to the E.U. mar­ket­ing stan­dards for olive oil and designed to bet­ter pro­tect and inform con­sumers while also ensur­ing the qual­ity and authen­tic­ity of olive oils.

They are among changes result­ing from Euro­pean Com­mis­sioner for Agri­cul­ture Dacian Cioloş’s action plan for the EU olive oil sec­tor, released for dis­cus­sion last June.

It is hoped they will pre­vent prac­tices such as restau­rants serv­ing patrons olive oil that is cut with cheaper oils, and labels that con­fuse or mis­lead con­sumers.

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Nine coun­tries opposed the changes

When the mea­sures were put to the vote on Tues­day at a meet­ing of the Man­age­ment Com­mit­tee for the Com­mon Organ­i­sa­tion of Agri­cul­tural Mar­kets in Brus­sels, they failed to gain what is known under the E.U.’s weighted vot­ing sys­tem as a qual­i­fied major­ity.

Accord­ing to Brus­sels sources, there were 195 votes in favor, 94 against and 53 absten­tions. One mem­ber state was absent from the meet­ing of the com­mit­tee, which includes agri­cul­tural experts from the EC and the 27 EU mem­ber states.

Coun­tries vot­ing in favor included Cyprus, France, Greece, Ire­land, Italy, Spain, Slove­nia, Slo­va­kia, Poland and Por­tu­gal. It’s under­stood the Czech Repub­lic, Latvia, Lithua­nia and Roma­nia also sup­ported the moves this time hav­ing voted against them in an indica­tive vote in Feb­ru­ary.

Nine coun­tries voted against the moves — Aus­tria, Bul­garia, Den­mark, Esto­nia, Fin­land, Ger­many, Lux­em­bourg, the Nether­lands and Swe­den — and Bel­gium, the United King­dom and Hun­gary abstained.

Though the result is classed as a non-opin­ion”, the Com­mis­sion is empow­ered to adopt the mea­sures and says they’ll be pub­lished by mid-June and come into force next Jan­u­ary 1.

The amend­ments had ear­lier been referred to the World Trade Organization’s Com­mit­tee on Tech­ni­cal Bar­ri­ers to Trade, which opened a 60-day com­ment period expir­ing on April 20. No com­ments were received.

Penal­ties

Mem­ber states will have to carry out checks to ensure com­pli­ance with the reg­u­la­tion and set their own appro­pri­ate” national penal­ties, which must be effec­tive, pro­por­tion­ate and dis­sua­sive.” Prod­ucts com­ply­ing with cur­rent rules which were made and labeled in, or imported into, the E.U. and in cir­cu­la­tion before 2014 can be sold until stocks run out.

What the planned amend­ments say

Ban on cruets:

- Oils made avail­able to the final con­sumer in hotels, restau­rants and pubs and bars shall be packed in con­tain­ers equipped with an open­ing sys­tem which can­not be resealed after it has first been opened, together with a pro­tec­tion sys­tem pre­vent­ing them from being reused once the con­tents indi­cated on the label have been fin­ished

Clearer label infor­ma­tion:

- Manda­tory details shall be grouped together within the same field of vision, either on the same label or on sev­eral labels attached to the same con­tainer, or directly on the con­tainer. The char­ac­ters in the text must be equal to or greater than 2 mm, if the nom­i­nal vol­ume of the con­tainer is equal to or less than 25 cl; 3 mm, if the nom­i­nal vol­ume of the con­tainer is greater than 25 cl but equal to or less than 100 cl; 4 mm, if the nom­i­nal vol­ume of the con­tainer is greater than 100 cl.

For details of these and other changes planned, see the amend­ments to Reg­u­la­tion (EU) No 29/2012 on mar­ket­ing stan­dards for olive oil.

Also see Europe Closer to Ban­ning Refill­able Olive Oil Cruets in Restau­rants

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