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Argentina to IOC: Campesterol Level Must Change

Jul. 12, 2012
Julie Butler

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Argentina con­tin­ued its push for a revi­sion to the International Olive Council limit for campes­terol in olive oil at the IOC Council of Members meet­ing held in Buenos Aires ear­lier this month.

In his July 3 wel­come address at the council’s 18th extra­or­di­nary ses­sion, Argentine Secretary of State for Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Lorenzo Basso called for the IOC to update its per­spec­tive so as not to leave out gen­uine olive oil from new pro­ducer coun­tries.

We have a dead­line which is the next meet­ing of the Codex Alimentarius in February 2013. The deci­sion to mod­ernise the out­look on olive oil pro­duc­tion and to change the per­cent­age of cer­tain para­me­ters to adjust to the demands of world trade — I’m talk­ing specif­i­cally about campes­terol — will depend on this Council” he said.

Argentina decided to fight from within this body rather than clash with it…and it is now time to define this new out­look so that the the IOC is respected as the inter­na­tional ref­er­ence body and together we can fight against what should really be of con­cern to us — fraud,” Basso said in his speech.

The IOC’s stan­dard for the extra vir­gin grade sets a limit of 4.0 per­cent for campes­terol (one of sev­eral sterols found in olive oil) and it has argued that higher lev­els — such as allowed for in the United States and Australian stan­dards — can indi­cate the pres­ence of seed oils and could result in more adul­ter­ation. Argentina, mean­while, argues that this is unfair because cli­matic and geo­graphic fac­tors cause some of its EVOOs to exceed the level.

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According to a report by the U.S. del­e­gate to the Codex Committee on Fats and Oils, Australia, Argentina, the U.S., and other inter­ested coun­tries are gath­er­ing new data to renew a push for change to the campes­terol level at the next meet­ing of that Codex com­mit­tee, sched­uled to be held in Malaysia from February 25-March 1, 2013.

World olive oil and table olive mar­ket

Meanwhile, pro­vi­sional fig­ures for the 2011/12 sea­son put world olive oil pro­duc­tion at a record 3.36 mil­lion tons, largely dri­ven by Spain’s bumper har­vest of more than 1.6 mil­lion tons.

Presented at the 39th meet­ing of the IOC Advisory Committee on Olive Oil and Table Olives, also held this month in Buenos Aires, and included in the IOC’s mar­ket newslet­ter for June, the pro­vi­sional data included esti­mated world con­sump­tion of nearly 3.14 mil­lion tons of olive oil, of which the EU accounts for 1.93 mil­lion tons and the US 275,000 tons. The US is the world import leader with 271,000 tons.

Provisional fig­ures put the global table olive out­put at 2.55 mil­lion tons and con­sump­tion at 2.46 mil­lion tons.

Imports up into China and down into Canada

The IOC newslet­ter also reports that in the first seven months of 2011/12 (October – April) imports of olive oil and olive pomace oil were up 24 per­cent in China, 10 per­cent in Russia and Japan, 6 per­cent in Brazil, and 2 per­cent in the US — com­pared to the same period last sea­son — but down 13 per­cent in Canada and 1 per­cent in Australia.

Table olive imports, mean­while increased solely in Brazil (up 26 per­cent).

Producer prices

The IOC reports that com­pared to the same period the year before, pro­ducer prices for EVOO are down 10 per­cent in Spain (€1.76/kg), 11 per­cent in Greece (€1.84/kg) and 37 per­cent in Italy (€2.38/kg). In recent months, prices have remained vir­tu­ally steady in all three coun­tries but still remain at their low­est since October 2009” it says.



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