`Italian Trade Group Backs Pan-European Traceability Rules - Olive Oil Times

Italian Trade Group Backs Pan-European Traceability Rules

Oct. 21, 2021
Paolo DeAndreis

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Regulations and pro­ce­dures aimed at keep­ing track of olive oil pro­duc­tion and trans­porta­tion should be the same through­out Europe and should also be adopted by the International Olive Council, accord­ing to Unaprol.

The Italian asso­ci­a­tion of olive oil pro­duc­ers has asked the Italian gov­ern­ment both to mimic some of the new pro­ce­dures intro­duced by Spain and to work toward the har­mo­niza­tion of olive oil reg­u­la­tions at an inter­na­tional level.

It is the time to extend rules and pro­ce­dures aimed at pre­serv­ing safety, qual­ity and rep­u­ta­tion of olive oil, both at a European and inter­na­tional level.- David Granieri, pres­i­dent, Unaprol

The goal is to offer trusted and ver­i­fied prod­ucts to con­sumers while pre­serv­ing good indus­trial prac­tices.

See Also: Researchers Identify Main Types of Olive Oil Fraud, Propose Solutions

José Penco, direc­tor of the Spanish Association of Olive Oil Municipalities (AEMO), told Olive Oil Times that the new set of rules will build trust and called the leg­is­la­tion the future of the olive oil sec­tor in Spain.”

According to Penco, the law intro­duces six new mea­sures to improve the Spanish olive oil sec­tor:

  • The pro­hi­bi­tion of mix­ing dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of olive oils or blend­ing olive oil with other veg­etable oils;
  • The pro­hi­bi­tion of using the terms vir­gin” and extra vir­gin” for any­thing other than olive oils;
  • The pro­hi­bi­tion of refin­ing or deodor­iz­ing the prod­uct within the mills;
  • The intro­duc­tion of the anti-top­ping caps in restau­rants;
  • The pro­hi­bi­tion of sell­ing olive oil pack­ages larger than five liters directly to con­sumers;
  • A new dig­i­tal reg­istry.

Unaprol has noted how the new dig­i­tal reg­istry asks pro­duc­ers to declare olive oil ship­ments in a way that closely resem­bles the dig­i­tal reg­istry Italy has already adopted to improve olive oil trace­abil­ity and label­ing con­for­mity.

The Spanish trace­abil­ity mech­a­nism requires spe­cific accom­pa­ny­ing doc­u­ments for all olive oil move­ments. This applies to bulk olive oil too, which is to be accom­pa­nied by a cer­ti­fied analy­sis aimed at ensur­ing that the trans­ported prod­uct pro­file matches the declared qual­ity cat­e­gory.

The imple­men­ta­tion of new lev­els of trace­abil­ity and olive oil iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is quite rel­e­vant since the new rules ask for the olive oils to be iden­ti­fied, ana­lyzed and clas­si­fied before leav­ing the mills, and to do using a mod­ern and com­put­er­ized plat­form,” Penco said. This will pre­vent or at least make it dif­fi­cult to per­form cer­tain pro­hib­ited olive oil mixes and prac­tices.”

Unaprol noted how the new rules ask cer­ti­fied olive oil ship­ments in Spain to be com­mu­ni­cated within 24 hours from the begin­ning of their trans­porta­tion, a time limit that Italian rules set at five days.

This is a rel­e­vant evo­lu­tion that makes things very hard for dis­hon­est play­ers who oper­ate on a global scale,” said David Granieri, Unaprol’s pres­i­dent. Transparency and trace­abil­ity are essen­tial to pro­tect both pro­duc­ers and con­sumers.”

Rafael Pico Lapuente, direc­tor of the Spanish Association of Olive Oil Exporting, Industry and Commerce (Asoliva), told Olive Oil Times that the new rules have an inspir­ing prin­ci­ple, which is to strengthen con­trols on olive oils. This also ensures a bet­ter qual­ity of the prod­uct and earns the trust of con­sumers.”

According to Unaprol, build­ing con­sumer trust and pro­tect­ing qual­ity is essen­tial to pro­tect the olive oil mar­ket. Therefore, the orga­ni­za­tion believes new har­mo­nized rules should be widely and inter­na­tion­ally adopted.

It is the time to extend rules and pro­ce­dures aimed at pre­serv­ing safety, qual­ity and rep­u­ta­tion of olive oil, both at a European and inter­na­tional level,” Granieri said.

See Also: Italy Set to Deal Major Blow to Agribusiness Pirates

Within a global mar­ket, we can not accept the co-exis­tence of dif­fer­ent con­trol pro­ce­dures which end up penal­iz­ing the most vir­tu­ous coun­tries,” he added. That same approach should also be extended to the other rules which involve the per­cep­tion of olive oil by the con­sumer, such as the anti-top­ping cap or the refreshed olive oil pro­hi­bi­tion which pro­tect both the con­sumers and pro­duc­ers.”

However, such har­mo­niza­tion will have to over­come a few hur­dles.

Lapuente said the new qual­ity stan­dard rule only affects Spain since it pro­hibits cer­tain local prac­tices which do not involve other coun­tries within the European Union.”

For instance the [pro­duc­tion activ­i­ties] sep­a­ra­tion of the new indus­trial facil­i­ties,” he added. This might affect the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the Spanish com­pa­nies com­pared to other European coun­tries or com­pa­nies out­side the E.U..”

The issue of cre­at­ing a coor­di­nated effort to com­bat fraud and sim­ple vio­la­tions of food safety and mar­ket­ing rules remains rel­e­vant in the E.U. due to the increas­ing num­ber of inci­dents reported in the bloc.

According to the lat­est data, from 2016 to 2020, reports of food fraud in the E.U. rose from 157 to 349, with more reports for oils and fats than any other cat­e­gory.

However, the annual report by the E.U. Agri-Food Fraud Network does not list all inci­dents of fraud. It only includes requests for coop­er­a­tion and vol­un­tary exchanges of infor­ma­tion among mem­ber states

Fats and oils [at 51 reports], where the major­ity of cases con­cern olive oil, is the most noti­fied prod­uct cat­e­gory in the sys­tem in 2020, sim­i­larly to 2019,” the report said. Fish and fish prod­ucts were the sec­ond most noti­fied with 34.

Member States have to per­form annual con­trols to ensure that the mar­ket­ing stan­dards for olive oil are respected,” the report added. Non-com­pli­ances noti­fied in the data­base may not sys­tem­at­i­cally relate to fraud but to the fact that the intrin­sic char­ac­ter­is­tics of extra vir­gin and vir­gin olive oil are not met.”

Olive oil degrades over time, espe­cially if the stor­age and trans­porta­tion con­di­tions are not opti­mal,” the report con­tin­ued. The noti­fi­ca­tions demand fur­ther inves­ti­ga­tions by mem­ber states to dis­tin­guish between gen­uine non-com­pli­ance and fraud.”





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