` Proposed Standard Would Imperil Greek Exports, Trade Group Warns


Proposed Standard Would Imperil Greek Exports, Trade Group Warns

Jun. 19, 2020
Costas Vasilopoulos

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The United States Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) will con­sider a new stan­dard of iden­tity for imported olive oil after a cit­i­zen’s peti­tion filed by the North Amer­i­can Olive Oil Asso­ci­a­tion and the Span­ish giant Deoleo last month.

Among the pro­posed reg­u­la­tions is a 0.5‑percent free fatty acid­ity (FFA) max­i­mum for extra vir­gin olive oil, lower than the cur­rent 0.8‑percent limit set in inter­na­tional stan­dards.

The pro­posed change was regarded in Greece as an ille­git­i­mate attempt by Span­ish olive oil con­glom­er­ates and their Amer­i­can part­ners to bypass com­pe­ti­tion from Greece and Italy in the wake of U.S. tar­iffs.

Spain was hit with a 25-per­cent tar­iff for bot­tled olive oil to the U.S. last Octo­ber, which impacted almost half of its annual exports headed to the Amer­i­can mar­ket.

Since then, many Span­ish pro­duc­ers have started to bot­tle their olive oil in Por­tu­gal or Tunisia to elude tar­iffs, while leav­ing less room for prof­its, the Office of Finan­cial and Com­mer­cial Affairs of the Greek Embassy in Madrid said in a mar­ket research analy­sis.


In a recent meet­ing, EDOE, the Greek Inter­pro­fes­sional Orga­ni­za­tion of Olive Oil, informed the min­is­ter of agri­cul­ture, Makis Vorides, about the peti­tion filed with the FDA and asked for his inter­ven­tion to pro­tect the coun­try’s olive oil pro­duc­tion from what they con­sider illicit prac­tices,” Agro24 reported.

The min­istry’s press release of the meet­ing con­tained no ref­er­ence to the request.

EDOE said in a state­ment to Olive Oil Times that the con­tem­plated changes would cause tur­bu­lence and fur­ther harm to Greek olive oil exporters.

Such mea­sures are not in favor of Greek pro­duc­ers,” they said. It would be totally dif­fer­ent to cre­ate a new cat­e­gory of high-qual­ity olive oil with a lower acid­ity level than extra vir­gin like the extris­simo clas­si­fi­ca­tion once pro­posed.”

Low­er­ing the max­i­mum acid­ity of extra vir­gin to 0.5 per­cent from 0.8 per­cent will degrade sev­eral qual­ity olive oils and will cre­ate mar­ket imbal­ances and unfair com­pe­ti­tion among sup­pli­ers of the U.S. mar­ket with a neg­a­tive effect on prices and exported vol­umes of Greek extra vir­gin olive oil,” EDOE wrote.


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