`European Producers Group Backs More Testing, Labeling Changes - Olive Oil Times

European Producers Group Backs More Testing, Labeling Changes

Nov. 20, 2012
Julie Butler

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Tighter anti-fraud mea­sures and label­ing require­ments were sup­ported by European olive oil pro­duc­ers at a meet­ing in Brussels last Thursday, accord­ing to Eduardo Martín, gen­eral sec­re­tary in Seville of Spanish agri­cul­tural union Asaja.

Martín, who attended the European farmer fed­er­a­tion Copa-Cogeca meet­ing, said the pro­duc­ers con­sid­ered var­i­ous changes can­vassed by the European Commission as part of its promised olive oil action plan.

He told Olive Oil Times that among other ideas backed by pro­duc­ers are: requir­ing that only non-refill­able bot­tles be used for olive oil in bars and restau­rants; that best before dates — but not nec­es­sar­ily the har­vest year — appear on labels; and that terms such as mild’ and intense’ be banned from them.

Anti-fraud mea­sures

Martín said Copa-Cogeca’s olive oil work­ing group sup­ported at the meet­ing a pro­posal floated by the EC to set a min­i­mum num­ber of olive oil authen­tic­ity tests to be done annu­ally by mem­ber states, with a finan­cial penalty to be imposed if these are not car­ried out, and a require­ment that more tests be done if anom­alies are found.

This is very well-regarded by pro­duc­ers as increased checks are seen as essen­tial for main­tain­ing qual­ity, he said.

Labeling: best before and har­vest dates

As pre­vi­ously reported, the EC is con­sid­er­ing var­i­ous changes to label­ing reg­u­la­tions, includ­ing on posi­tion­ing and font size, such as requir­ing that details of ori­gin appear in the main visual field and in font of at least 5mm in the case of one liter sizes.

Martín said pro­duc­ers are in favor of stan­dard­iz­ing the use of best before dates on olive oil pack­ag­ing but not so keen on includ­ing the year of har­vest. The lat­ter would only make sense for vir­gin and extra vir­gin oil and would bring nei­ther good nor bad” he said.

Consumer con­fu­sion over mild” and intense”

Producers also sup­port elim­i­nat­ing use of the terms suave’ (mild) and intenso’ (intense, strong) on labels. Martín said they con­fuse con­sumers and are unhelp­ful.

Non-refill­able olive oil con­tain­ers in restau­rants, bars

The EC has also floated mak­ing the use of one-way pack­ag­ing com­pul­sory for olive oil in bars and restau­rants in the EU. Martín said cur­rently it is optional for EU states to require this and so far only Portugal has done so.

Producers would like to see the move made com­pul­sory through­out the EU so that only olive oil that is prop­erly labeled and in non-refill­able bot­tles is used.”

The EC is con­tin­u­ing con­sul­ta­tion on its olive oil action plan, key aspects of which are expected to be voted on in December and January.



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