`Quality Seal Sought to Protect Image of Spanish Olive Oil

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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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