By Zoë Casey,
All olive oils, from Spain’s golden nutty olive oils to Italy’s dark green grassy-flavoured olive oils, will be labelled with their country of origin from 1 July 2009, the European Commission said today.
Currently, olive oils are labelled with their country of origin on a voluntary basis, but Mariann Fischer Boel, the European commissioner for agriculture, said that this system did not provide enough consumers with geographic “traceability” information.
Fischer Boel also argued that the new regulations will also benefit producers by providing them with a “marketing tool” in a similar way that ‘extra virgin’ and ‘virgin’ labels are used to indicate the quality of the oil.
Oil produced from olives from different EU countries will be labelled “blend of Community oils”. Oils partly derived from olives from non-EU producers – such as Palestine – will say “blend of Community and non-Community oils”.
Typically, Spanish olive oil is golden in colour with a nutty flavour, Italian olive oil is dark green with a herbal aroma, while Greek olive oil is usually green in colour with a strong flavour. French olive oil is typically light golden in colour and is milder than other varieties.