The (Rather Ridiculous) Olive Oil Refill Ban

Olive Oil ban EUI’m aware that many of my readers don’t live in Europe so I’m not sure if you heard about this olive oil ban in the EU. Those that do live here must surely have been amused…

Last week on Saturday I read this article in the BBC stating:

The European Commission is to ban the use of refillable bottles and dipping bowls of olive oil at restaurant tables as from next year.

Apparently it was all down to a labeling issue to ensure you get what you ask for. (As opposed to a hygienic issue, for example).

My instant various thoughts were:

1. Someone in the European Commission must have interests in the olive oil industry, with the main big players.

2. The restaurants must be very unhappy. Especially in the Mediterranean countries, olive oil is such an important aspect of the diet. I have to admit I hadn’t taken much note of the culinary set-up in the restaurants in other Mediterranean countries, but in Spain it is extremely common for each table to have some salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar all in refillable jars. Restaurants like to buy their olive oil in bulk and put them in these lovely jars. Beautiful refillable glass olive oil jar always looks so much classier than a commercial (plastic) bottle with a label. And of course this system must also be more ecological than what the European Commission wants to enforce.

While I’m on this subject, I also want to point out that in Spain you will practically never receive a salad in any restaurant already served with creamy and creative salad dressings. Spaniards are extremely health conscious when it comes to their salad dressings (and may I dare suggest a tad uncreative too sometimes) and will only put some salt, vinegar and extra virgin olive oil on their salads, dressing it themselves.

3. People in Mediterranean area can easily tell the difference between between normal olive oil and extra virgin olive oil just by smelling it and looking at it: it’s thicker when pouring and the colour is richer. So one really does not need a label for olive oil in a restaurant.

4. With the amount of serious problems going on in the EU, surely this means that all those loads of politicians have wasted lots of precious time and money thinking about this?

Anyhow, I wasn’t the only one baffled. It seems that there was so much general embafflement (I may have just invented that word now) and ridicule that now one week later now they have dropped the ban. Here are some articles about it from the BBC, The Guardian and euobserver. There is also this analysis from Forbes.

It’s amusing that the future ban has been dropped. It still doesn’t eliminate the fact that the European Commission has been busy with this olive oil story…

Did you get to see this news? What did you think about it?

Thank you for reading!

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