`Olive Oil Scandal in Lebanon Leads to Calls for Reform


Olive Oil Scandal in Lebanon Leads to Calls for Reform

Mar. 29, 2011
Umut Egitimci

Recent News

Despite all the ben­e­fits of olive oil, it can stil be risky to eat in Lebanon where recently the Agri­cul­ture Min­istry and Con­sumers Lebanon reported that there were sev­eral olive oil brands on the mar­ket con­tain­ing toxic chem­i­cals. Also con­firmed by the head of Con­sumers Lebanon, Zuheir Berro, were reports that show a lack of mon­i­tor­ing in Lebanese law that caused the fake olive oil issue in the mar­ket. Zuheir Berro said sev­eral olive oil pro­duc­ers in Lebanon were adding cer­tain chem­i­cal ingre­di­ents like ben­zopy­rene and acrolein dur­ing the extrac­tion stage of olive oil pro­duc­tion, which cre­ate a great risk for human health.

The state­ment made by the National Com­mit­tee for Oils and Fats (NCOF) in Lebanon noted that the risks of the toxic chem­i­cals used in the tainted olive oils could increase chances of can­cer. NCOF warned the pub­lic by say­ing that the brains of chil­dren may be per­ma­nently harmed from con­sum­ing such oil prod­ucts because fats present in such oils will, in the long run, sub­sti­tute the healthy fats of the brain”.

While both NCOF and Con­sumers Lebanon called for the Agri­cul­ture Min­istry to mon­i­tor imported and locally pro­duced oil prod­ucts closely, Par­lia­ment Mem­ber Atef Maj­dalani held a press con­fer­ence address­ing the issue of fake olive oil. Maj­dalani called to put forth a draft law on food secu­rity because of the dan­ger­ous scan­dals about food prod­ucts in Lebanon namely coun­ter­feited olive oils pre­sent­ing high risks of can­cer dis­eases. This law-draft orders to form an inde­pen­dent com­mis­sion to con­trol the food pro­duc­tion’s cycle in all its stages.”

Mean­while, the Daily Star reported today that New label­ing laws for olive oil will indeed be intro­duced in response to the scan­dal. All [olive oil farm­ers and man­u­fac­tur­ers] that do not hurry to reg­is­ter presses and fac­to­ries will be con­sid­ered to be [vio­lat­ing the law],” Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Hajj Has­san said at a news con­fer­ence.

The pro­posed law would require glass pack­ag­ing, ori­gin label­ing, and the bot­tling date. A new set of stan­dards and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gram would be put in place. Despite broad sup­port among the par­ties, the reforms are not expected to be rat­i­fied until a new gov­ern­ment takes place later this year.


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