` Farmers Protest Proposed EU Law on Olive Oil Labeling

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Farmers Protest Proposed EU Law on Olive Oil Labeling

Mar. 25, 2016
By Ylenia Granitto

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A mas­sive rally of farm­ers took place in Bari (Apu­lia) against an EU bill that is seen as a threat for the qual­ity of agri-food prod­ucts and the pro­tec­tion of con­sumers. Thou­sands responded to the call of Coldiretti, demon­strat­ing aboard trac­tors and armed with anti EU plac­ards.

At the cen­ter of the protest is the pro­posed EU law that pro­vides for the sub­stan­tial elim­i­na­tion of the 18 months of shelf life limit on the label of extra vir­gin olive oil.

The bat­tle on the label­ing is an issue of com­pet­i­tive­ness for our coun­try.- Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­tural Mau­r­izio Mar­tina

The Euro­pean bill aims to amend an arti­cle — the so called save oil’ or Mongiello’ law — which reads: the min­i­mum stor­age period within which the vir­gin olive oils retain their spe­cific prop­er­ties when in proper usage con­di­tions, may not exceed eigh­teen months from the date of bot­tling.”

Numer­ous stud­ies have shown that over time extra vir­gin olive oil changes its char­ac­ter­is­tics and loses its healthy fea­tures like polyphe­nols, antiox­i­dants and vit­a­mins,” Coldiretti declared. The attempt to delete the expi­ra­tion date of olive oil leads to a qual­ity risk, dam­ag­ing the con­sumer.” The asso­ci­a­tion of farm­ers first has asked for the main­te­nance of min­i­mum dura­bil­ity, but also calls for the intro­duc­tion of com­pul­sory indi­ca­tion of the har­vest year on the label.”

Tractors parade during the event promoted by Coldiretti against the EU bill.

The bat­tle on the label­ing is an issue of com­pet­i­tive­ness for our coun­try,” said Mau­r­izio Mar­tina. The Min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture added that the mea­sure debated by the Par­lia­ment pro­vides that the manda­tory words best before’ should be included in the label, but this dead­line will be under the respon­si­bil­ity of the man­u­fac­turer.

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The sec­ond mat­ter of con­tention regards a pro­posal to do away with the require­ment to pro­vide clearer indi­ca­tion ori­gin of the prod­uct with dif­fer­ent and more notice­able chro­matic rel­e­vance” on the label, now com­pul­sory for the Ital­ian law. The Euro­pean bill pro­vides for pejo­ra­tive changes on the label­ing of olive oils,” Coldiretti claimed.

Sup­press­ing the mea­sures which pro­vide for the indi­ca­tion of the ori­gin of the blends of olive oils with dif­fer­ent and more evi­dent rel­e­vance than the back­ground color, com­pared to the other and indi­ca­tions and descrip­tions, has the effect to mit­i­gate the lev­els of pro­tec­tion for con­sumers.”

The Senate’s EU Poli­cies Com­mit­tee is now debat­ing the mea­sure and the vote has been post­poned until after the Easter break.


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