Olive oil ban u-turn

RESTAURANT AND pubs owners can breathe a sigh of relief after a potential ban on using refillable jugs for olive oil was scrapped.


The new European law would have forced foodservice businesses to only offer oil at that table contained in factory-packaged bottles with a tamper-proof nozzle.


Dacian Ciolos, the European commissioner for agriculture, claimed the move had product provenance at its heart and would prevent apparently frequent fraud by restaurants passing off cheap and old olive oil as new and expensive.


However, according to reports the idea failed to muster enough support and has been withdrawn.


“I have seen and heard strong views expressed by consumers,” Ciolos told reporters. “As a consequence I am withdrawing the proposition.”


The UK’s food secretary Owen Paterson told the Telegraph that he was glad the commission had “seen sense”.


“[The rules] would have interfered with businesses, imposed unnecessary costs and taken choice away from consumers,” he said.


The Sustainable Restaurant Association has opposed the ban from the outset. Its MD Mark Linehan said recently: “Provenance is at the very core of the SRA’s principles, so we are sympathetic towards efforts to highlight the source of any product.


“However, we do have serious misgivings about singling out olive oil for special treatment, particularly as it would appear that this new regulation could have significant waste and packaging implications.”


However, Ciolos is not giving up yet. He plans to bring restaurateurs, consumers, producers and traders around the same table in a bid to “find a better way”. Just don’t offer him any unlabelled olive oil.