Sometimes I sit there and I wonder what weird committees must be sitting in Brussels wasting the money of taxpayers for issuing absurd orders. An European Union Common Agricultural Policy directive “will ban olive oil jugs and dipping bowls from restaurant tables as of 1. January 2014 for reasons of hygiene and for the protection of olive oil ,” I read in UK’s Daily Telegraph:
“The small glass jugs filled with green or gold coloured extra virgin olive oil are familiar and traditional for restaurant goers across Europe but they will be banned from 1 January 2014 after a decision taken in an obscure Brussels committee earlier this week.
From next year olive oil “presented at a restaurant table” must be in pre-packaged, factory bottles with a tamper-proof dispensing nozzle and labelling in line with EU industrial standards.
The use of classic, refillable glass jugs or glazed terracotta dipping bowls and the choice of a restaurateur to buy olive oil from a small artisan producer or family business will be outlawed.
Sam Clark, the food writer, chef and proprietor of the award winning Moro restaurant in London, told The Daily Telegraph that the ban would stop him serving his customers specially selected Spanish olive oil in dipping bowls with bread when they are seated at their table.
“This will affect us. It is about choice and freedom of choice. We buy our oil, which we have selected from a farm in Spain, to serve our customers,” he said
Mr Clark attacked the regulation as one that would kill off artisan producers and accelerate the demise in Europe of traditional ways of making and serving food, in favour of large industrial producers. “It is very upsetting. Haven’t they already done enough damage to artisan products?,” he said.
The European Commissions justification for the ban, under special Common Agriculture Policy regulations, is “hygiene” and to protect the “image of olive oil” with a measure that will benefit struggling industrial producers in Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal.
Officials defended the ban as a protection for consumers who would know that they were getting a safe, guaranteed product with proper labelling of its origin and with tamper-proof, hygienic dispensers.
“This is to guarantee the quality and authenticity of the olive oil put at the disposal of consumers. The aim is to better inform and protect consumer. We also expect hygiene to be improved too,” said an official.
The decision, which will be automatically adopted by the commission in next few days, has dismayed many officials who are concerned that a ban crafted to help industry will damage the reputation of the EU at a time of growing hostility to Brussels bureaucrats. (full story Daily Telegraph)
“Safe and guaranteed product with proper origin labelling”? But they don’t buy it..
“The choice of restaurateur to buy olive oil from a small artisan producer or family business will be outlawed”? Oh Oh Oh – I see the scheme of cracking down of small businesses in Greece spreading across Europe and thus there were the money is: in olive oil.
If EU bureaucrats were sincerely concerned about the consumers’ protection and the products’ hygiene they should also ban unpacked bread, olives, cheese and butter from restaurant and hotel tables. Also they should close down open salad bars and sandwich services. Not to mention the nasty mixed nuts offered in small bowls to accompany a drink. Do the nameless bureaucrats have any idea, how many fingers have grabbed some nuts and left the rest into an ever recycling chain?
They probably have. But in case of olive oil jugs and bowls, it seems that some large business interests seem to have done some good lobby work in Brussels.
Here in Greece, we call it “oiling” 🙂
LET’S HAVE ALL OUR FOOD WRAPPED AND PACKED EU STANDARDS! LOL
A very good point on the issue was submitted by Charlotte H. in KTG-Facebook page: ”
But the EU bureaucrats don’t mind that the Greek people have to eat salad they have collected from the garbage thanks to their policies. Where is the concern for hygiene then?”