An olive oil promotion campaign in Japan and an app calculating the carbon cost of making olive oil are just two of the items on the International Olive Council’s table for next year.
Advancement of a seal certifying conformity with the IOC standard in import markets and a self-monitoring tool to combat oil adulteration are also on the horizon.
These were among the initiatives listed by the IOC in a summary of the meeting of its Council of Members (council) – the IOC’s decision-making body – held June 2-6 at the IOC headquarters in Madrid.
IOC countries asked to “better regulate” flavored olive oils
Though not mentioned in the IOC statement, the meeting also discussed the hot topic of the ‘legality’ of flavoured extra virgin olive oils and infused olive oils, which are particularly popular in markets such as the U.S., U.K. and Australia.
In May, the IOC Advisory Committee on Olive Oil and Table Olives voted, “after lengthy discussion,” to recommend the IOC remind its members of the terms of the IOC trade standard, which they must adhere to in international trade, and under which “extra virgin olive oil is the juice of the olive and nothing else” and “olive oil is defined solely as the blend of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil without the addition of any other product.”
The issue was further discussed at the council meeting, where, according to an IOC spokesperson, it was decided that “a reminder will be issued by the IOC to its member countries highlighting the importance of complying with the IOC trade standard and encouraging them to adopt domestic rules to better regulate trade in flavoured oils.”
Budgeting for future Japanese marketing campaign
In its summary of the council meeting, the IOC said the council asked the IOC executive secretariat (responsible for the day-to-day running of the IOC) to prepare a draft 2015 budget catering for proposed activities including the launch of a generic promotion campaign in Japan, an international course for leaders of virgin olive oil tasting panels, and a grant funding program for olive oil promotion and technical assistance in IOC member countries.
Mario Solinas Award ceremony in New York next June
The council also approved having two editions of the IOC’s Mario Solinas Award in future, “aimed at increasing the number of entries, particularly from the southern hemisphere,” and holding the award ceremony during the Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City next June.
Tool, seminar on olive oil’s carbon footprint
The IOC said the council members were told about a planned IOC guide to good practice concerning CO2 balance in the life cycle of olive oil and that the IOC executive secretariat intended to develop a software tool “allowing users to calculate the CO2 emitted and captured in the production of one litre of olive oil.”
The IOC has been asked by the council to budget for an international seminar on olive oil’s carbon footprint.
Quality control measures
The council has also instructed the IOC executive secretariat “to continue working with associations on a draft self-monitoring agreement designed as a tool to combat oil adulteration and another agreement to promote a seal certifying conformity with the IOC standard in import markets.”
Olive propagation and genetic resources
The IOC said the council members also heard progress reports on various projects already underway, including on:
– irrigation management (IRRIGOLIVO),
– conservation of genetic resources (RESGEN), and
– the world olive collections in Marrakech (Morocco), Izmir (Turkey) and Cordoba (Spain).
They were also told the IOC Executive Secretariat would be organising two seminars in October, one in Marrakech to mark the end of the IRRIGAOLIVO project and another in Tunis on genetic olive resources and the preliminary results of an olive nursery project. “The idea is to hold an international course on plant propagation techniques,” the IOC also said.
The council approved a second call for applications for grants for technical assistance and extension activities and activities to promote olive oil and table olives. (Details of the call can be seen at: www.internationaloliveoil.org/estaticos/view/413-grants.)