`Olive Council Extends Barjol's Term - Olive Oil Times

Olive Council Extends Barjol's Term

Dec. 3, 2014
Olive Oil Times Staff

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Jean-Louis Barjol (OOT File Photo)

The Council of Members of the International Olive Council (IOC), the inter­gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion man­dated by its mem­bers to admin­is­ter the soon-to-be-expired 2005 International Agreement on Olive Oil and Table Olives, has extended the term of its exec­u­tive direc­tor, Jean-Louis Barjol, for another year.

At the Council’s 102nd ses­sion in Madrid last week the mem­bers agreed, despite the oppo­si­tion of Turkey, which chairs the IOC, to keep the direc­tor on through 2015. Barjol’s con­tract was set to expire this month, along with the char­ter the Council oper­ates under.

At the meet­ing, the Council of Members approved a report by its Economic Committee on world olive oil pro­duc­tion, con­sump­tion, imports and exports for the the last two sea­sons, and esti­mates for this year that pre­dict a decline in olive oil con­sump­tion in every major mar­ket includ­ing Europe, the United States, China and Japan.

In other busi­ness, the IOC said it had rec­og­nized 65 chem­i­cal labs and 57 sen­sory test­ing labs this year, and con­ducted meet­ings on olive oil com­po­si­tion, organolep­tic assess­ment and new test­ing meth­ods.

For 2015, the mem­bers approved a range of activ­i­ties includ­ing the con­tin­u­a­tion of a tech­ni­cal assis­tance pro­gram, a schol­ar­ship fund for uni­ver­sity stud­ies in olive oil and four inter­na­tional courses for lead­ers of olive oil tast­ing pan­els, chem­i­cal meth­ods, the reuse of byprod­ucts and inte­grated con­trols.

IOC STATEMENT: 102nd Council of Members

Members accepted a 2015 bud­get, but it was not for­mally adopted for rea­sons the IOC did not indi­cate in its state­ment. An extra­or­di­nary ses­sion sched­uled for February will adopt the bud­get and other out­stand­ing mea­sures, the IOC said.

Members agreed to con­tinue work­ing on draft­ing the new inter­na­tional agree­ment that will serve as the orga­ni­za­tion’s man­date.


Turkey had objected to a pro­posal to extend Barjol’s con­tract on the grounds that it would dis­re­gard the Council’s insti­tu­tional expe­ri­ence of over­com­ing prob­lems,” but the mem­bers extended his term any­way, buy­ing time to rework the inter­na­tional agree­ment.

Barjol’s four years at the IOC has been a period of major chal­lenges in the sec­tor. His early cam­paign pledge to engage the United States, even wel­come it as an IOC mem­ber, was never to mate­ri­al­ize. On the con­trary, efforts by bur­geon­ing American pro­duc­ers, and their like-minded mates in Australia, have had the intended effect of mar­gin­al­iz­ing the inter­gov­ern­men­tal orga­ni­za­tion at every turn.

Despite a steady stream of sci­ence sup­port­ing the unri­valed health ben­e­fits of olive oil con­sump­tion and the emerg­ing wealth in huge mar­kets like Russia, India and China, global olive oil con­sump­tion is lower now than when Barjol took office, fail­ing even to show a gain with pop­u­la­tion growth over the term.

The low point in the Barjol admin­is­tra­tion might have been in early 2013, when the organization’s bud­get impasse required it to oper­ate in a state of limbo that pre­vented Barjol’s travel to rep­re­sent the sec­tor at a key Codex meet­ing.

High-pro­file exposés such as Tom Mueller’s Extra Virginity, a crit­i­cal report by the University of California at Davis and a New York Times info­graphic have pro­ceeded to slam the rep­u­ta­tion of olive oil in gen­eral and con­found con­sumers, while well-funded cam­paigns by seed oil pro­duc­ers gladly took advan­tage of indus­try infight­ing.

In an indi­ca­tion of how lit­tle good news there has been dur­ing his tenure, Barjol launched an effort in late 2012 to fos­ter pos­i­tive writ­ing by jour­nal­ists about the olive indus­try,” by offer­ing €5,000 for the best arti­cle pro­mot­ing the desire to dis­cover and enjoy olive oil and table olives” — only to can­cel the con­test after the dead­line due to a lack of entries.

This is a break­ing news arti­cle. Check back for updates.

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