Trade Group Opposes Proposed Retail Sales of Bulk Olive Oil in Europe

Consumers and environmental associations advocate retail sales of olive oil in bulk in the E.U. as a more environmental-friendly practice. Fedolive strongly disagrees.
By Costas Vasilopoulos
Jul. 11, 2022 19:26 UTC

Fedolive, the European Federation of Olive Oil Industries, objected to a request from con­sumers and envi­ron­men­tal asso­ci­a­tions to the European Commission to autho­rize retail sales of bulk olive oil in stores to reduce the envi­ron­men­tal impact of olive oil pack­ag­ing.

Fedolive argued that direct sales of olive oil in bulk would have no tan­gi­ble ben­e­fit for the envi­ron­ment and would put con­sumers’ pro­tec­tion in peril.

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The envi­ron­men­tal impact of pack­ag­ing will not be elim­i­nated or min­i­mized if olive oil is sold in bulk, since it will again be pack­aged in con­tain­ers in stores – as other prod­ucts sold in bulk in retail out­lets – which of course will not be checked like stan­dard olive oil pack­ag­ing for com­pli­ance with envi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tions,” the fed­er­a­tion wrote in a memo to Wolfgang Burtscher, the gen­eral direc­tor of the commission’s Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development.

“[Sales of olive oil in bulk] do not guar­an­tee the safety of the food, in con­trast to the stan­dard­iza­tion and pack­ag­ing in con­tain­ers up to 5 liters which has been proven to be the only prac­tice which guar­an­tees the pro­tec­tion of the con­sumers and has also been val­i­dated through the last revi­sion of the Executive Regulation 29/2012 on olive oil mar­ket­ing stan­dards,” the memo added.

Commission Regulation 29/2012 stip­u­lates that only pack­aged (or bot­tled) olive oil is allowed to be sold to final con­sumers in Europe in quan­ti­ties of up to 5 liters per pack­age, fit­ted with an open­ing sys­tem that can no longer be sealed after the first time it is opened.

In Greece, the national asso­ci­a­tion of olive oil bot­tlers (Sevitel) also took a stand against the pro­posed retail sales of unpack­aged olive oil, char­ac­ter­iz­ing it as a set­back for the whole indus­try.

Enabling retail sales of olive oil in bulk will be a step back­ward regard­ing the product’s safety and tack­ling adul­ter­ation,” said Yiorgos Economou, the association’s gen­eral direc­tor.

Economou added that rel­e­vant leg­is­la­tion exists in France, where con­sumers can buy olive oil in bulk in per­sonal con­tain­ers. However, the sales are mon­i­tored, and the con­tain­ers are sealed after fill­ing,” he said.

Fedolive finally called on the com­mis­sion to reject any pro­posal to mod­ify the exist­ing olive oil trade reg­u­la­tory frame­work, cit­ing cur­rent pro­duc­tion and trad­ing eti­quette.

Olive oil is a source of health and life,” the fed­er­a­tion wrote. It is a nat­ural prod­uct with high nutri­tional and bio­log­i­cal value and high require­ments in pro­duc­tion, pack­ag­ing and trad­ing stages, ensured only with stan­dard­ized and branded prod­ucts pro­duced and mar­keted by thou­sands of busi­nesses which con­tribute to the econ­omy and the pro­tec­tion of con­sumers.”


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