International Olive Council Executive Director Jean-Louis Barjol

In an effort to “promote positive writing by journalists about the olive industry,” the International Olive Council announced last March it would award €5,000 to the best article published online or in print “promoting the desire to discover and enjoy olive oil and table olives.”

But in a turn, the IOC has canceled the contest because it has not received enough entries.

In a letter to journalists who submitted their work to the Madrid-based intergovernmental organization by the October 1 deadline, IOC Executive Director Jean-Louis Barjol wrote that there were not enough entries for the Council to determine a winner. It was unclear how many entries the IOC received.

The contest rules posted on the IOC website, did not indicate a minimum number of entries necessary for the judging to go forward.

“We widely announced the competition by posting it on our website and informing press associations in the countries concerned, as well as the IOC Heads of Delegation and many other contacts,” Barjol wrote. “Unfortunately, we are very sorry to say that we have not received enough entries for the competition to go ahead.” Olive Oil Times obtained a copy of the email from a journalist who asked not to be identified.

The IOC is charged by the United Nations to establish rules for the global olive oil industry, so it was surprising to some that it acted to cancel the contest when such a possibility was not indicated anywhere in its own competition rules.

No stranger to contests, the Council also directs the Mario Solinas olive oil competition, considered among the most stringent EVOO contests in the world, although it, too, has had difficulty attracting participants, with just two of this year’s 111 entries coming from Italy.

At press time, Barjol had not returned an email seeking further comments about the cancellation of the journalism contest.

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