` Quality Seal Sought to Protect Image of Spanish Olive Oil - Olive Oil Times

Quality Seal Sought to Protect Image of Spanish Olive Oil

Oct. 15, 2013
Julie Butler

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Elena Víboras, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, with Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Miguel Arias CañeteElena Víboras, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, with Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Miguel Arias Cañete

A pro­posed new qual­ity seal will help pro­tect Spanish olive oil from smear cam­paigns” by new pro­ducer coun­tries, accord­ing to one of its main pro­po­nents, the regional gov­ern­ment of Andalusia.

Elena Víboras, Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development in Andalusia, said that agree­ment was made to start work on the seal dur­ing a meet­ing she attended in Madrid on Tuesday with Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Miguel Arias Cañete.

In a press release issued after the meet­ing, she said it would bol­ster the image of Spanish and Andalusian olive oil in inter­na­tional mar­kets, facil­i­tat­ing exports.

We are the world’s lead­ing pro­duc­ers and we need a dis­tinc­tive mark that cer­ti­fies the qual­ity of prod­ucts intended for export,” she said.

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She con­sid­ered the mea­sure essen­tial” amid what are seen as smear cam­paigns in new pro­ducer coun­tries through the release of reports ques­tion­ing the qual­ity of Spanish olive oil with state­ments far from real­ity.

The truth was that the olive oil sec­tor in Andalusia had made a big effort to improve in the cul­ti­va­tion, extrac­tion, pack­ag­ing and stor­age of vir­gin olive oils,” Víboras said.

She said her min­istry would work with rel­e­vant orga­ni­za­tions to ensure that the planned qual­ity seal had the broad­est pos­si­ble con­sen­sus and achieved the goal of guar­an­tee­ing the excel­lence of the olive oil bear­ing it.

Víboras did not name the coun­tries she referred to as con­duct­ing smear cam­paigns, nor say which reports had ques­tioned the qual­ity of Spanish olive oil.

One of the most recent reports by a New World pro­ducer was that last month by the United States International Trade Commission (USITC) on com­pe­ti­tion in the global olive oil trade.

Among the main find­ings in the USITC report were that cur­rent inter­na­tional stan­dards allow a wide range of olive oils to be mar­keted as extra vir­gin, that the stan­dards are widely unen­forced, and that this leads to adul­ter­ated and mis­la­beled prod­ucts that weaken the com­pet­i­tive­ness of U.S.-produced olive oil in the U.S. mar­ket.

Spain is the world’s biggest and low­est cost pro­ducer of olive oil and the vast major­ity — 60 per­cent — of its olive plan­ta­tions are in Andalusia.

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