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Refillable Oil Bottles Banned in Spanish Bars and Restaurants

Jul. 11, 2013
Naomi Tupper

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Miguel Arias Cañete

The Spanish gov­ern­ment is prepar­ing a royal decree forc­ing the coun­try’s restau­rants and bars to replace refill­able oil con­tain­ers with clearly labelled sin­gle-use sachets or bot­tles of oil.

The announce­ment, made by Minister of Agriculture Miguel Arias Cañete, came as a shock after the European Union made the deci­sion to back down from the pro­posal to ban refill­able ves­sels around Europe in May. However, Cañete stressed that due to the his­tor­i­cal, cul­tural and eco­nomic impor­tance of olive oil for Spain, the motion was essen­tial to main­tain the sec­tor’s strict pol­icy of pro­mo­tion and infor­ma­tion, as well as the main­te­nance of the Spain Brand.”

The mea­sure is hoped to pre­vent refill­ing of ves­sels from bulk oil bot­tles of lower qual­ity with­out the aware­ness of cus­tomers and con­sumers, thus pre­vent­ing the qual­ity fraud that has become com­mon in the olive oil indus­try.

Apart from con­cerns sur­round­ing con­sumer mis­in­for­ma­tion, the Agro-food coop­er­a­tives in Spain have also sug­gested that there are other dis­ad­van­tages to refill­ing oil ves­sels, stat­ing that such prac­tice can change the organolep­tic prop­er­ties of the oil result­ing in unde­sir­able alter­ations to fla­vor, odor and color. They pointed out that, with such strict leg­is­la­tion when it comes to olive oil pack­ag­ing and label­ing in the coun­try, stan­dards should not be dropped in the final stage of deliv­ery to con­sumers. The National Consumer Organization has also sup­ported the motion, stat­ing that it would help to pre­vent fraud.

However, other organ­i­sa­tions are less than happy with the new action, with the Spanish Federation of Hospitality point­ing out the huge eco­nomic impact” for restau­rant own­ers and hote­liers. In a poor eco­nomic cli­mate, the cost of new dis­pos­able pack­ag­ing, which comes at a far greater cost than refill­ing bot­tles, could put fur­ther finan­cial pres­sure on busi­nesses.

Sachets or non-reusable bot­tles will have to be labelled with infor­ma­tion regard­ing ori­gin, date of man­u­fac­ture, best before date and qual­ity grade to pro­vide con­sumers with all the infor­ma­tion avail­able about the prod­uct and, pro­po­nents of the decree say, enhance their knowl­edge and appre­ci­a­tion of an impor­tant part of Spanish cul­ture.


Sources:

The Local Spain
El Pais
ABC Espana

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