`New EU Labeling Laws Just in Time for Olive Oil's 'Black Year' - Olive Oil Times

New EU Labeling Laws Just in Time for Olive Oil's 'Black Year'

Dec. 9, 2014
Sarah Parker

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2014 WILL BE KNOWN by Italian olive oil pro­duc­ers as the black year’ — a par­tic­u­larly bad one for a num­ber of rea­sons — among them the fact that the weather has been great if you’re an olive fruit fly, and a bac­te­r­ial blight that seemed to come from nowhere has led to the destruc­tion of hun­dreds of thou­sands of trees in Apulia. Not to men­tion Spain will pro­duce nearly one mil­lion tons less than it did last year.

Read the label well, espe­cially the small print- Roberto Moncalvo, Coldiretti

World olive oil pro­duc­tion is expected to tum­ble by 27 per­cent, putting an entire agri­cul­tural sec­tor in dis­tress.

Meanwhile, as usual, prices for Italian olive oil are com­mand­ing a healthy pre­mium, ris­ing by 50 per­cent in just the last month to nearly €6 per liter.

All of this is also con­tribut­ing to a tough sit­u­a­tion for olive oil con­sumers as retail prices climb and the cli­mate, as unfriendly as it has been for olives, is just right for olive oil fraud.

The Italian agri­cul­tural asso­ci­a­tion Coldiretti has raised the alarm about an inva­sion of for­eign olive oils,” based on Istat data for the first seven months of 2014. If the trend is main­tained,” said the pres­i­dent of the asso­ci­a­tion, Roberto Moncalvo, the arrival in Italy of for­eign olive oil will reach a his­toric high in 2014,” and so will the pres­sures to com­mit olive oil fraud. A whop­ping two out of three bot­tles filled in Italy will con­tain for­eign olive oil. Read the label well, espe­cially the small print,” he advised.


Just in time, con­sumers are reminded that, from December 13, new laws on EU label­ing laws will come into effect which man­date more trans­par­ent label infor­ma­tion.

The recently-amended EU mar­ket­ing stan­dards for olive oil (reg­u­la­tion 29/ 2012) require the fol­low­ing:

  • Information that has to appear on olive oil pack­ag­ing must be in the main field of vision in a uni­form body of text. The EU hopes this will stop a mis­lead­ing prac­tice some­times seen whereby some infor­ma­tion, such as about the qual­ity of the oil, or the coun­try of ori­gin appears in a smaller font;
  • The back label of olive oil bot­tles must indi­cate that they should be stored in a cool, dark place. This aims at help­ing con­sumers main­tain the qual­ity of their oil longer;
  • The har­vest year may only be stated on the label if all the olive oil is from that har­vest. This is said to be to enable con­sumers to ensure prod­uct fresh­ness;
  • EU mem­ber states must strengthen com­pli­ance checks – based on risk analy­sis – as well as sanc­tions, and send more detailed annual reports to the Commission on these checks and the out­comes.

The olive oil indus­try has wel­comed the news: No doubt the oblig­a­tion to make the indi­ca­tion of ori­gin on the front of the bot­tles of extra vir­gin olive oil, which was pre­vi­ously only expected on the back of the label, is a step for­ward for full trans­parency and proper infor­ma­tion for the con­sumer,” said Assitol Federolio.

The clearer label­ing is seen as a step in the right direc­tion for con­sumers and a way to add value in this black moment for pro­duc­ers.

Meanwhile, enforce­ment efforts are being beefed up to com­bat the expected surge in falsely labeled olive oils, includ­ing those claim­ing to be made in Italy and sub­stan­dard oils labeled extra vir­gin.


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