`Mouse in Olive Oil Cruet Spurs New Push For Ban - Olive Oil Times

Mouse in Olive Oil Cruet Spurs New Push For Ban

Oct. 24, 2013
Julie Butler

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(Fictional Image)

The dis­cov­ery of a live mouse in the olive oil cruet on a Paris restau­rant table has prompted renewed calls for a ban on the refill­able con­tain­ers.

Italian singer and TV pre­sen­ter Jo Squillo claimed she was lunch­ing with friends in the his­toric Le Marais dis­trict dur­ing last months’s Paris Fashion Week when the inci­dent occurred. A waiter took the cruet and trapped mouse away but there was no apol­ogy, she later told jour­nal­ists.

The restau­rant owner explained that Paris was full of mice and restau­rants could not help such things,” she said.

Italian and Spanish Members of European Parliament on need for cruet ban

Now a group of 22 Italian and Spanish Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) has renewed a call for a ban on restau­rants, hotels and bars serv­ing olive oil in unmarked and refill­able oil con­tain­ers.

Following the lat­est very seri­ous inci­dent men­tioned above, does the Commission plan to resub­mit the reg­u­la­tion intended to intro­duce the require­ment for restau­rants and can­teens to serve olive oil only in cer­ti­fied and labeled non-refill­able, sin­gle-use bot­tles, in order to guar­an­tee con­sumers’ basic right to know what they are con­sum­ing?” they wrote in a recently pub­lished writ­ten ques­tion to the European Commission.


The Commission was close to impos­ing such a ban but in late May — amid a polit­i­cal storm and media ridicule over the issue — European Commissioner for Agriculture Dacian Cioloş put it on ice, say­ing it lacked broad con­sumer sup­port.

He said at the time he would instead meet with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of con­sumers, restau­rants, and olive oil pro­duc­ers to seek a bet­ter way to pro­vide bet­ter infor­ma­tion to con­sumers about what they’re eat­ing and to avoid any cheat­ing.”

Claims ban would increase trans­parency, health pro­tec­tion for con­sumers

The MEPs, mainly from the European People’s Party, also say in their ques­tion that the pro­posal would have been very use­ful for com­bat­ing the phe­nom­e­non whereby oil bot­tles are refilled, which guar­an­tees the con­sumer nei­ther trans­parency nor safety with regard to the prod­uct.”

Has the Commission assessed the impact on European con­sumers of the lack of trans­parency regard­ing the actual con­tent of oil cruets, not only in finan­cial terms, but also in terms of health pro­tec­tion, given that the refilled prod­uct, as well as gen­er­ally hav­ing infe­rior organolep­tic prop­er­ties, is of lower qual­ity?”

They also asked if the Commission had con­sid­ered that the move would have also served to pro­mote European extra-vir­gin oils, some­thing repeat­edly stressed by the Commission as nec­es­sary, thus pro­vid­ing more com­plete infor­ma­tion for a gen­uine prod­uct and guid­ing con­sumers more towards European brands.”

European Commission says con­sul­ta­tion con­tin­u­ing

In answer to another ques­tion on the ban, Cioloş said in July that over the com­ing months the Commission will resume its work on clar­i­fy­ing whether action must be taken at European level to meet the needs of all stake­hold­ers in the olive oil sec­tor.”

A spokesper­son for Cioloş told Olive Oil Times last week that regard­ing the meet­ing of Commissioner Cioloş with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the olive oil and cater­ing sec­tors, the Commissioner encour­aged all par­tic­i­pants to con­tinue their dis­cus­sions.

The now-post­poned draft reg­u­la­tion that included the cruet ban, reg­u­la­tion (EC) No 29/2012 on mar­ket­ing stan­dards for olive oil, also other pro­posed mea­sures — gen­er­ally well-sup­ported in the olive oil sec­tor — such as for clearer label infor­ma­tion on olive oil pack­ag­ing, and tougher penal­ties for and more checks on mis­la­bel­ing.

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