Olive oil producers from California and Australia are among those invited to an International Olive Council (IOC) meeting next week focusing on quality seals and other strategies being used by countries to promote olive oil quality.

Representatives of the QVExtra and Extra Virgin Alliance (EVA) associations – which the IOC said “seem to be the most advanced in this area” – are also expected to attend the meeting of its Advisory Committee on Olive Oil and Table Olives.

In a statement Wednesday, the IOC said that the issue of the various quality strategies (including self-monitoring quality schemes) and quality seals springing up in the marketplace had been raised at the committee’s last meeting, in Marseille in July, and the IOC executive secretariat had “invited them to give deeper thought” to them.

“Any committee representatives who wish to do so have therefore been invited to present their initiatives and schemes in this field at the next committee meeting due to take place on 25 October.” it said.

The meeting will be held in Madrid, where last week the agriculture ministers from the Spanish central and the Andalusian regional governments also met and agreed to start work on a proposed quality seal to bolster the image of Spanish and Andalusian olive oil in foreign markets.

Debate on future of the IOC

The advisory committee will also be asked for input in the debate on the future of the IOC in the lead-up to the renewal of its governing agreement. The current, 2005, agreement expires at the end of next year.

Also on the agenda are an examination of the world market for olive oil and table olives and consultation about planned changes in the olive oil customs classifications of IOC member countries.

The IOC’s executive secretariat will also report on its recent and future work on economic surveys, standardization and promotion.

Committee taps industry insight

The Advisory Committee on Olive Oil and Table Olives includes representatives from all parts of the olive sector — production, processing, marketing and consumption — in IOC member countries.

“It was established to voice the opinions of business circles and to tap their hands-on knowledge to help the Executive Secretariat to find effective solutions to problems and to keep its finger on the pulse of the industry,” the IOC said.

Advisory Committee officers

Chairman of the advisory committee is Ali Ben Hadj M’Barek, chief officer of the National Olive Oil Board in Sousse, Tunisia. He was vice chairman from 1992-1995 then chairman from 1997-2000, and again from 2010.

Panayotis Karantonis, director of the Athens-based Greek Association of Olive Oil Processors and Packers (ESVITE), has been vice chairman of the olive oil section of the advisory committee since 2006.

Marino Melissano, vice president of the Italian consumer group Altroconsumo, has been vice chairman of the table olive Section also since 2006.

All three have been members of the committee since it was set up in 1991.

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