European Union olive oil regulation at the heart of the case for a British EU exit

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True, this rule exists, but it only applies to oil sold for domestic use. The justification for the size limit is that olive oil degrades as it ages, becoming rancid and unsuitable for consumption. Since it is hard to believe that Mr. Gove would advocate a post-Brexit government taking risks with public health, it is possible that his real concern is that the same size limits apply to olive oil sold in the U.K. for commercial use.

But that isn’t the fault of the directive, which makes clear that commercial sales are a matter for member states. Indeed, the U.K. recently reviewed its own rules—and after receiving only one response in favor of change, decided to keep its five-liter limit.

Mr. Gove also blames the EU for worsening the U.K. housing crisis thanks to a rule dictating “the distance houses have to be from heathland to prevent cats chasing birds (five kilometers).” This is a reference to the 1992 Habitats Directive and the related Birds Directive, whose purpose is to provide EU-wide protection for endangered species—wild animals, of course, being no respecters of national borders.

Ironically, these rules were partly the brainchild of Stanley Johnson, the father of Mr. Gove’s comrade-in-arms Boris. Never mind that the housebuilders themselves say these directives barely even register on their lengthy list of regulatory irritants and that they assume that even a post-Brexit government would still protect the environment. The important point is that the five-kilometer rule is a piece of homegrown gold-plating, not an EU requirement.
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