U.K. Readies for European Ramp Up of Olive Oil Testing

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From January, EU member states will each year have to conduct at least one conformity check – including chemical and taste tests – per thousand tons of olive oil marketed within them, to ensure the oil complies with its declared category.

They must also check that operators who carry olive oil up to the bottling stage comply with a new requirement to keep entry and withdrawal registers.

The changes are part of the EU Olive Oil Action Plan and were provided for in recent amendments to the EU marketing standards for olive oil and were provided for in recent . The aim is to protect consumers from misdescribed and adulterated olive oil products.

About 59,000 tons of olive oil is marketed each year in the UK so UK Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) proposes doing 59 annual conformity checks – the minimum in order to comply with the new law. However this will be subject to a risk analysis, as also required by the new EU law.

And though there are about 40 olive oil bottlers currently trading in the UK, as one accounts for 95 percent of the market by volume and the top four together cover more than 99 percent, Defra proposes inspecting just the four biggest bottlers plus four others, conducting a total of about 20 conformity checks.

About 15 retail establishments would also be visited and 39 conformity checks undertaken.

Read more at OliveOilTimes

The UK considered applying a more rigorous enforcement regime but found no evidence to suggest it was warranted. “Any increase in the number of visits to bottlers would increase burdens on industry, including micro-businesses, and would not represent value for money,” Defra’s impact assessment says.

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