`Ban Imminent on Refillable Olive Oil Bottles in Spanish Restaurants and Bars - Olive Oil Times

Ban Imminent on Refillable Olive Oil Bottles in Spanish Restaurants and Bars

By Julie Butler
Nov. 19, 2013 15:45 UTC


A new law ban­ning refill­able olive oil con­tain­ers in Spain’s restau­rants and bars will help increase the country’s olive oil exports, accord­ing to the Spanish gov­ern­ment.

That’s because hotels and restau­rant are often the only con­tact with olive oil that tourists have while in Spain, the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment said. And If they encounter a qual­ity prod­uct that is well pre­sented it will act as a good intro­duc­tion, which will facil­i­tate an increase in demand for exports.”

It was com­ment­ing on the new reg­u­la­tion, which from January 1, 2014 will require olive oil pre­sented to con­sumers by the hos­pi­tal­ity sec­tor, includ­ing restau­rants and cater­ing ser­vices, to be in con­tain­ers that are labeled and have an open­ing sys­tem that can­not be resealed after the first use.

And in the case of con­tain­ers of a suf­fi­cient capac­ity to be made avail­able to end users more than once, they must also have a pro­tec­tion sys­tem pre­vent­ing their reuse once the orig­i­nal con­tents have been fin­ished.

The reg­u­la­tion says mem­bers of the sec­tor will have until the end of February to serve any stocks of olive oil and olive pomace oils they bought before January that don’t meet the new require­ments.

In a pre­am­ble, it says that Spain, the world leader in the pro­duc­tion of olive oil has a strong com­mit­ment to all mea­sures that con­tribute to strength­en­ing the com­pet­i­tive­ness of this impor­tant sec­tor.”

It’s under­stood that fines for infringe­ment will come under an ear­lier royal decree cov­er­ing vio­la­tions and penal­ties relat­ing to con­sumer pro­tec­tion and food pro­duc­tion. That reg­u­la­tion pro­vides for fines of between about €600 and €15,000 in the case of seri­ous offenses and of between €15,000 and €600,000 in very grave cases.

Spain’s olive oil sec­tor has for some time been push­ing for an end to the tra­di­tional — and refill­able — aceit­eras used in Spanish restau­rants. Similar mea­sures already apply in Portugal and Italy. Lobbying inten­si­fied in Spain after the European Commission sud­denly backed away in May — amid con­sid­er­able pub­lic out­cry and media mock­ery — from its plan to apply such a ban through­out the European Union.

Spain’s Interprofesional del Aceite de Oliva Español, a non-profit pro­mo­tional orga­ni­za­tion rep­re­sent­ing Spain’s olive oil sec­tor, said con­sumers would be the main ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the Spanish ban.

For decades we have been denounc­ing the absur­dity of con­tin­u­ing to use aceit­eras in restau­rants when con­sumers today are increas­ingly picky about what they eat,” it said.

But the Spanish Federation of Hospitality has warned that the move could increase costs, have an unde­sir­able envi­ron­men­tal impact, because it will increase the use of throw­away pack­ag­ing”, and increase food waste (par­tic­u­larly with sin­gle-use sachets), because only rarely” would all the con­tents be used.


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