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International Olive Council Seeks Greater 'Transparency'

Nov. 30, 2011
Julie Butler

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The need for more trans­parency in the olive oil mar­ket and for uni­for­mity on olive oil tar­iff codes were among key issues dis­cussed at the 99th ses­sion of the International Olive Council’s Council of Members, held at the IOC’s Madrid head­quar­ters from November 21 – 25.

IOC Executive Director Jean-Louis Barjol said that actions in response to these issues would include a new data base of his­tor­i­cal prices and a joint project with the World Customs Organization on the har­mo­niza­tion of tar­iff codes. As it stands, the WCO clas­si­fi­ca­tions vary from the IOC ones and do not dif­fer­en­ti­ate between vir­gin extra and vir­gin olive oil.

Production down in Spain

Updated fore­casts and defin­i­tive results on world olive oil pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion were also approved at the ses­sion and show a slight down­ward revi­sion for Spain’s pro­duc­tion for the 2011-12 crop year (1 October 2011 — 30 September 2012) to 1.35 mil­lion tons. Its pro­vi­sional total for 2010-11 is 1.39 mil­lion tons.

Testing issues

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Among the issues dealt with by the Council’s Technical Committee was the need to orga­nize meet­ings with those who rep­re­sent IOC mem­ber coun­tries in the Codex Alimentarius Commission, specif­i­cally on the sub­ject of deal­ing with olive oils with anom­alous para­me­ters.

The last Codex ses­sion, held in Malaysia in February, failed to achieve agree­ment on this issue. Argentina and Australia were among pro­ducer coun­tries seek­ing changes to stan­dards set for olive oils, such as on the level of linolenic acid, to reflect dif­fer­ences in non-Mediterranean olive oils.

An IOC spokes­woman said that the com­mit­tee had also agreed to minor revi­sions of some IOC stan­dards, includ­ing for the organolep­tic assess­ment of vir­gin olive oils (COI T.20 Doc. nº 14 y 15) and to a method to deter­mine the com­po­si­tion and con­tent of sterols and triter­pene dial­co­hols in olive oils. From 2013 the lat­ter will also apply to pomace oil.

R & D projects

Barjol high­lighted that the board had approved assis­tance for a third inter­na­tional olive har­vest in Turkey and con­tin­ued sup­port for the sec­ond such har­vest in Morocco.

Meanwhile, the Technical Committee also dis­cussed an olive bio­marker devel­op­ment project and the pos­si­bil­ity of a future study of the car­bon foot­print through­out the olive oil pro­duc­tion cycle, includ­ing devel­op­ing meth­ods to cal­cu­late car­bon emis­sion lev­els at each step of the process.

Promotional cam­paigns

One of the IOC’s next cam­paigns will be in Australia, North Korea or Japan but the IOC’s Promotion Committee is yet to choose. It will first eval­u­ate recent reports received on the table olive and olive oil mar­kets in the three coun­tries. It noted the con­clu­sion of a cam­paign in Russia, the exten­sion of one in China, the con­tin­u­a­tion of its cam­paign in North America and a new cam­paign in Brazil.

Potential new IOC mem­bers

Barjol reported on his lat­est mis­sions, in par­tic­u­lar his vis­its in November to Argentina, Chile and Uruguay. He said the lat­ter two coun­tries had shown seri­ous inter­est in becom­ing IOC mem­bers.



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