UPDATE: olive oil bottle ban shelved

EU drops plan for tamper-proof packaging after criticism for ‘draconian solution’ to restaurant fraud problem

21 May 2013

PLANS to ban restaurants from offering bottles of olive oil with a cork stopper have been dropped by the European Commission after a storm of protest.

The ban plan, contained in a draft Commission implementing regulation on olive oil marketing, came after reports that olive oil is the most adulterated agricultural product in the EU.

EU Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos withdrew his proposal saying it had "not been formulated in a way to draw widespread support".

Agriculture spokesman Roger Waite said there was a north-south divide over the plan, which had been intended to give value to local olive oil producers. In the south it was accepted as such, but in the north it was viewed as meddling.

He added that the type of caps that were intended cost around €0.03 each and were easy to fit. "Portugal introduced non-refillable bottles in 2005” and it was “seen as positive by consumers and producers”.

However, EU agriculture policy critic Alan Matthews had called it a “draconian solution” to the “very slight risk of adulteration”.

He said on the CAPreform website it was “reminiscent of EU rules preventing the sale of crooked cucumbers (repealed in 2009)”. He added: “Olive oil available on the table or in dipping bowls is a condiment rather than something that the customer has explicitly purchased.”
Photo: stu_spivack

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