The Senate, one of the two houses of the Italian Parliament, finally approved the EU regulation 2013 bis (S1533) which contains, among others, an important ruling about olive oil: article 19 requires the use of a mandatory “anti-topping” cap for olive oil bottles served in restaurants, thus banning the picturesque but unctuous cruets still used in many places, as well the “re-filled” extra virgin olive oil bottles where the content doesn’t match the label.

The rule doesn’t apply to the oil used in restaurant kitchens for the preparation of food, but virgin olive oils presented at the table must be served with an adequate cap or other closing device in order to prevent the alteration of the contents once the container is opened.

The approval came after that the text of the law proposed by the government had been rejected and modified by parliament, regarding separate topics also included in the regulation. This time, minister Maria Elena Boschi asked for a “vote of confidence,” and the measure was approved by the senate with 214 positive votes, only one negative vote and 27 abstentions.

Colomba Mongiello

The law must now be finally approved by the chamber of deputies, the lower house of the Italian parliament, to properly enter into force.

S1533 is part of a wider legislation regulating the quality and transparency of virgin olive oil production and distribution signed by former senator Colomba Mongiello, now at the agriculture commission at the chamber of deputies. The legislation is commonly called the “oil saver” law as it aims to introduce strict rules about labeling, controls and sanctions.

The law was presented, approved and put into force in Italy in January 2013 but it was fiercely opposed by other members of the European Parliament, especially England and The Nederlands. Only in June, thanks to an amendment presented by Mongiello, was the law able to overcome the European veto and was approved. The amendment included the “anti-topping cap” and a new labeling provision that requires mixed virgin olive oils coming from different countries to bare the caption “mix” on the cap.

“This is not a law against free trade,” Mongiello declared in a press release in June, “but against those who want to change trade into a playground.”

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