`Olive Oil Not Always Local at Provence Markets - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oil Not Always Local at Provence Markets

Sep. 12, 2012
Alice Alech

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The out­door mar­ket, or marché in Provence, is famous for its col­ors and sounds, and it reflects the strong ties of the French to the pro­ducer. Locals and tourists go for the fresh­est of regional and local pro­duce; the best fruit, char­cu­terie and extra vir­gin olive oils.

Recently how­ever, there has been a glut of low qual­ity olive oils on sale, and Provençal pro­duc­ers, renowned for their excel­lent extra vir­gin olive oils are con­cerned that the gen­eral pub­lic is being tricked.

The regional news­pa­per Var-Matin reported that poor qual­ity olive oil is eas­ily being passed off as olive oil from Provence in these coun­try mar­kets. Displayed with an array of attrac­tive food prod­ucts from the region, con­sumers, look­ing for a bar­gain and bedaz­zled by pretty bot­tles boldly sug­gest­ing they con­tain olive oil from Provence are being lured into buy­ing poorer qual­ity oils. Often the oils are not even made in France

Some are imported, oth­ers are low grade French oils packed in dec­o­ra­tive con­tain­ers that con­vey some­thing made nearby.

Extra vir­gin olive oil from Provence sells for around 14 euros (18 USD) per liter.

Olive oil pro­duc­ers of the Var, a depart­ment in the region Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur say it’s hard to see imported olive oils, often in typ­i­cal French pack­ag­ing, sell­ing like hot cakes in their own local mar­kets.


Olivier Roux pres­i­dent of the com­mit­tee in charge of pro­mot­ing of olive oil in the Var and mem­ber of L’association Française Interprofessionelle de L’Olive (Afidol) said If People want to buy olive oil from Spain, Italy of Tunisia, it’s their right but they must know what they’re buy­ing.”

In the inter­view with Var Matin he added: Regulations regard­ing European label­ing are not clear. For exam­ple because there is no spe­cific reg­u­la­tion deter­min­ing the height of the let­ter­ing in the com­pul­sory UE (Origine Communauté Européene) label, this infor­ma­tion is hardly vis­i­ble on the bot­tles.”

In an effort to crack down on fraud­u­lently labeled olive oil, pro­fes­sional mem­bers from Afidol are spend­ing time this sum­mer vis­it­ing the var­i­ous mar­kets in Provence inform­ing the pub­lic on prove­nance and the authen­tic­ity of French olive oil.

Afidol added a new logo to their labels this year which should helps con­sumers iden­tify the dif­fer­ent Provencal fla­vors. Gout a l’ancienne replaces fruité noir, gout sub­til for fruité mûr and gout intense replaces fruité vert.

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