The Government has approved the quality and traceability standard for olive oil and olive pomace to enhance the value of the product and position it “as the highest quality in the world and with the maximum guarantees throughout the production process.”
“It was a demand from the sector”, which has been demanding for years an update of a regulation that dates back to 1983 and “comes to enhance the value of our iconic agri-food product and the Mediterranean diet,” explained the Minister of Territorial Policy and spokesperson for the Government, Isabel Rodríguez, during the press conference after the Council of Ministers.
The decree includes a series of requirements on traceability, production and packaging of the final product that will make it possible to place Spanish olive oil “as the highest quality in the world”, according to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.
To this end, it will make a computer system available to operators and control authorities to notify, obligatorily and in advance, any movement that affects olive oil. In addition, a Code of Good Practices will be created to reinforce the image of extra virgin olive oil or EVOO and give this product prestige to the consumer.
To avoid confusion among consumers, the use of the terms “virgin” and “extra virgin” will be restricted only to olive oil, without being able to be used in other vegetable fats in the Spanish market.
In addition, the prohibition of mixing olive oil with other oils is reinforced and it will be prohibited that those foods that have olive oil in their composition can highlight it in the name of sale, although they must include it in the list of ingredients, with the final objective to “avoid consumer deception.” This prohibition means that, for example, olive oil-based dressings or condiments may not use the terms “olive oil or olive-pomace” in their trade name.
To guarantee a product of the highest quality, it is also prohibited in Spain the practice known as ‘ refrescado ‘ consisting of mixing virgin olive oils from the current campaign with others from previous campaigns to improve the characteristics of the older product and that was allowed in the regulations of 40 years ago.
To reinforce maximum transparency and in favor of consumer guarantees, the new regulation also reinforces disclosure with the publication of reports on the results of the conformity controls and traceability of the product, accessible to consumers.
In addition, for the first time, it will be forced to carry a standardized traceability system, very demanding, which will require that oil movements be covered by accompanying documents for greater control. It is an unprecedented control regime, “which does not exist in any other country in the world” and “places Spain at the head of the quality requirements of olive oil”, according to the Ministry.
To carry out traceability, the Ministry will make a computer system available to the sector and control authorities to carry out the prior and mandatory notification of any movement that affects the product.