`Parliament Calls for More Consultation on Olive Oil Measures - Olive Oil Times

Parliament Calls for More Consultation on Olive Oil Measures

May. 30, 2013
Julie Butler

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Agriculture Committee Chairman Paolo De Castro (Photo: European Parliament archive)

Do more to tackle olive oil fraud, but con­sult con­sumers first” was the mes­sage Members of the European Parliament deliv­ered to European Union Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Cioloş yes­ter­day, accord­ing to an infor­mal sum­mary of their debate pre­pared by the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development.

Held a week after Cioloş aborted a plan to ban refill­able olive oil bot­tles from restau­rant tables, views both favor­ing and crit­i­ciz­ing that move were aired dur­ing the com­mit­tee meet­ing.

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Several Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), includ­ing Spain’s María Auxiliadora Correa Zamora, accused the Commission of allow­ing fraud­u­lent use of olive oil.” Iratxe García Pérez, also from Spain, sug­gested some mem­ber states applied dou­ble stan­dards” in terms of increas­ing trans­parency and con­sumer aware­ness of prod­ucts such as meat and olive oil, the sum­mary said.

Meanwhile, United Kingdom MEP George Lyon — echoed by many oth­ers” was said to have praised Cioloş for his u‑turn. The Commission had failed to explain” the pro­posed ban and con­sumers and restau­rant own­ers had not under­stood it, he said.

Olive oil mer­its spe­cial atten­tion

Most of the MEPs nev­er­the­less agreed that olive oil deserves spe­cial atten­tion and mea­sures to increase trans­parency and con­sumer pro­tec­tion are rea­son­able. But they argued for bet­ter con­sul­ta­tion with con­sumer groups and restau­rant own­ers, and proper expla­na­tion for the wider pub­lic, the sum­mary said.

Cioloş promises in-depth debate in com­ing months

Cioloş said that for two years now there had been dis­cus­sion of mea­sures to strengthen the olive oil sec­tor and spur high qual­ity pro­duc­tion while also pro­mot­ing trans­parency and increas­ing con­sumer pro­tec­tion.

He also pointed out that the ban, which aimed to ensure that restau­rants put only good qual­ity olive oil on their tables, was sup­ported by 15 out of 27 mem­ber states.”

But he acknowl­edged the Commission had not made enough effort to get in touch with con­sumer orga­ni­za­tions and restau­rants.”

An in-depth debate” — par­tic­u­larly with restau­rants and con­sumers — would be held in com­ing months. This would be designed to align pro­posed mea­sures to their needs in order to reach a broadly accepted” deci­sion.

Parliament wants more say on Commission agri­cul­ture and con­sumer pro­tec­tion moves

Agriculture com­mit­tee chair­man, Italian MEP Paolo De Castro, said the recent olive oil issue was an exam­ple of one in which the Parliament could have helped” but due to the comi­tol­ogy sys­tem — a process allow­ing mod­i­fi­ca­tion of E.U. law within com­mit­tees chaired by the Commission — we were only able to learn about it from news­pa­pers.”

Provisions to oblige the Commission to con­sult Parliament when adopt­ing such deci­sions in the future are part of ongo­ing nego­ti­a­tions on the final shape of the future E.U. farm pol­icy, the sum­mary said.



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