QeA to EU Commission – Date of minimum durability on olive oil

The following Q&A with the EU Commission clarifies the EU position on the issue. Italy is imposing 18 months as maximum “best before” for olive oils, but the Commission is asking to amend the national legislation. If an olive oil will be too “old” and will lose its organoleptic properties (i.e. high levels of peroxides and acidity), it won’t met the standards set by the EU Regulations, therefore should be removed from the market. This is up to the food business operator and to competent authorities’ controls. That’s Commission’s position.

A Pilot case has been opened and the Italy answered that legislation will be amended.

Subject:  Expiry date on olive oil labels – 11th April 2016

Numerous studies have shown that the characteristics of olive oil deteriorate with time. It begins to lose the polyphenols, antioxidants and vitamins that slow down the body’s degenerative processes, making it such a valuable health food. Above all, peroxides and acidity — low levels of which have always been considered key quality criteria for customers — increase.

With the implementation of the Community requirements, the expiry date will no longer be 18 months, but may be decided freely by the bottlers themselves. This is tantamount to having no expiry date at all, since everyone will be able to set a date in accordance with his or her own commercial interests, without there being any guarantees for consumers; hence the risk that many people will take advantage of this measure to dispose of ‘old oil’.

In the light of the above, will the Commission say:

  1. Does it believe it necessary to initiate a change in the labelling of extra virgin olive oil in order to ensure its quality and, above all, the safety of consumers?
  2. What steps it will take to prevent old oil finding its way onto the tables of European consumers?

Answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the Commission – 7th June 2016

Article 9(1)(f) of Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 lays down, among the mandatory particulars to be indicated on labels, ‘the date of minimum durability’. For olive oil, it corresponds to the period within which olive oil retains its properties and should preferably be consumed. It is the responsibility of the food business operators to indicate this date of minimum durability.

In the EU market, the quality, authenticity, labelling and marketing of olive oil is regulated and safeguarded by two Regulations (Regulation (EEC) n° 2568/91 and Regulation (EC) n° 29/2012). These Regulations require Member States to carry out conformity checks to ensure that the olive oil marketed is consistent with the category declared.

(Source: EU Parliament)

Food recalls in EU – Week 48/2015

This week on the EU RASFF (Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed) we can find the following notifications:

1. Alerts followed by a recall from consumers:

2. Information for attention/for follow up followed by a recall from consumers:

3. Alerts followed by a withdrawal from the market:

4. Seizures:

None.

5. Border rejections:

  • acetamiprid (0.081 mg/kg – ppm) in pomegranates from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 125; Tot. = 147 / B1 = 47; Tot. = 53 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios in shell from Iran
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 15.6; Tot. = 17.4 µg/kg – ppb) in pistachios from the United States
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 17.4; Tot. = 18.4 µg/kg – ppb) in chilli powder from Bangladesh
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 27.8; Tot. = 29.39 µg/kg – ppb) in organic hazelnuts, dried figs, (B1 = 32; Tot. = 36 / B1 = 99.1; Tot. = 162.3 / B1 = 16.3; Tot. = 17.29 µg/kg – ppb) in shelled hazelnuts (B1 = 64.95; Tot. = 75.06 µg/kg – ppb) and in crushed roasted hazelnuts (B1 = 7.4; Tot. = 22 / B1 = 9.6; Tot. = 22 µg/kg – ppb) from Turkey
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 7.8; Tot. = 8.8 µg/kg – ppb) in groundnuts from Argentina
  • aflatoxins (B1 = 9.0 µg/kg – ppb) in crushed chillies from India
  • copper (115 mg/kg – ppm) in vine leaves in brine from Turkey
  • FEED: aflatoxins (B1 = 60.3 µg/kg – ppb) in peanuts for bird feeding from Brazil
  • fenpropathrin (0.017 mg/kg – ppm) and imidacloprid (0.021 mg/kg – ppm) and unauthorised substance tolfenpyrad (0.11 mg/kg – ppm) in green tea from Turkey
  • fraudulent health certificate(s) for frozen barramundi fillets (Lates spp) from China
  • improper health certificate(s) for shrimps (Penaeus duorarum) from Côte d’Ivoire with improper packaging (too porous)
  • ivermectin (4.0 µg/kg – ppb) unauthorised in frozen barramundi (Lates spp) from Vietnam
  • mercury (0.78 mg/kg – ppm) in chilled John Dory (Zeus faber) from Tunisia
  • poor temperature control of frozen Argentine red shrimp (Pleoticus muelleri) from Argentina, frozen crabs (Cardisoma spp) and frozen raw lobsters (Panulirus argus) from Honduras, frozen fillets of mackerel (Scomber spp) and dolphinfish (Coryphaena) from China
  • propargite (0.204 mg/kg – ppm) in dried tomatoes from Tunisia
  • Salmonella (1 out of 5 samples /25g) in betel leaves from India
  • Salmonella (presence /25g) in hulled sesame seeds from India
  • shigatoxin-producing Escherichia coli (in 1 out of 5 samples /25g) in chilled beef from Brazil
  • stones (1.2 %) in white pepper husk from Vietnam
  • too high content of colour E 102 – tartrazine (0.65 %) and unauthorised use of colour E 110 – Sunset Yellow FCF (47.5 mg/kg – ppm) in frozen sweet corn pastry from Colombia
  • too high content of sulphite (2143 mg/kg – ppm) in dried apricots from Turkey
  • unauthorised substance aldrin in chilled peppers from Turkey
  • unauthorised substance carbendazim (1.5 mg/kg – ppm) in peas from Kenya
  • unauthorised substance profenofos (0.04 mg/kg – ppm) in black olives in brine from Peru