At a recent par­lia­ment ses­sion the Greek Minister of Agriculture, Prof. Athanasios Tsaftaris referred to the European Union’s reg­u­la­tion 432/​2012 that will become effec­tive on December 14th and the prospects it opens for Greek olive oil and olives. The reg­u­la­tion con­tains a list of per­mit­ted health claims which can be attrib­uted to food prod­ucts of the EU state mem­bers if they com­ply with cer­tain con­di­tions.

Simply put, if a food prod­uct con­tains an ingre­di­ent termed by the reg­u­la­tion as respon­si­ble for the ben­e­fi­cial effect of the food prod­uct on humans, then this sub­stance can be reported on the label of the prod­uct to dif­fer­en­ti­ate it from oth­ers.

Among oth­ers, the reg­u­la­tion defines olive oil polyphe­nols as the dras­tic sub­stance to sus­tain the claim that “polyphe­nols con­tribute to the pro­tec­tion of blood lipids from oxida­tive stress” and sets that this asser­tion may be used only when the olive oil con­tains at least 5mg of hydrox­y­ty­rosol and its deriv­a­tives per 20g of oil. Oleic acid is also enlisted and is applic­a­ble for food high in unsat­u­rated fatty acids.

According to Prof. Tsaftaris, the Greek state played a cru­cial role in the acknowl­edge­ment nutri­tional value of olive oil polyphe­nols by the European Commission and their inclu­sion in the list. “The reg­u­la­tion seeks to give accu­rate fac­tual infor­ma­tion to show when there is a true ben­e­fi­cial effect and not mis­lead the con­sumer.

Tsafaris said Greek olive oils pro­cure an advan­tage over com­pet­i­tive prod­ucts since the bio­di­ver­sity and the spe­cial micro­cli­matic con­di­tions of olive oil-oil pro­duc­ing areas of Greece give the prod­ucts extra qual­i­ties. “Because our envi­ron­ment, our bio­di­ver­sity, and the abun­dance of vari­eties we have, this enables us to really iden­tify suit­able vari­eties.”



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