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Hereafter we list the most important EC Regulations that discipline the production, commercialization and labeling of olive oils and that must be well explained. The legislation we must refer to is made of three EC Regulations, i.e. no. 2815/98, no. 2152/2001 and no. 2568/91. The first two regulations refer to the commercial standards of olive oil; the third concerns the characteristics of olive oils as well as the relevant analysis methods. Over the years these regulations have been subject to a series of important corrections, additions and updates.

Commercialization standards and designation of the origin

As regards olive oil commercialization standards, it is necessary to consider not only the abovementioned basic regulations but also the EC 2000/13 directive pertaining labeling of food and the recent EC Regulation 1019/2002. Today consumers fittingly pay more and more attention and are more demanding when they are about to buy extra virgin olive oil. They look for a product that has a certain and identifiable origin. The product must be traceable, so that they can get to know those who have grown the olives and produced and bottled the oil.

Our country has been fighting at EU level to defend the issue of origin and product quality.

Particular attention must be paid to the Regulation no. 2152/2001, that modifies an important article of Regulation no. 2815/98, pertaining the commercial standards of olive oil. After some debates, light has been shed on labeling of extra virgin olive oils.

Since the 1st November 2001 the origin of the olive oil is strictly bound to the country where olives are grown and grinded. If harvest and grinding occur in two different places, both places will be written on the label. The same applies for mixtures of oils coming from other places/countries. This regulation means for Italy and Apulia a great step forward as regards acknowledging quality and typicality.

As regards regulation 1019/2002, there are some instructions on labeling. Regulation no. 1964/2002 implies that starting from 1st November 2003 extra virgin olive oil may be sold to consumers in max. 5l containers.

Characteristics of olive oils and analysis/evaluation methods

Regulation 2568/91 is a basic regulation that establishes which chemical, physical and organoleptic characteristics olive oils must have. At the same time it establishes analysis methods. It is favorable to recall that an extra virgin olive oil can only be defined as such if it meets the requirements foreseen in the regulation. Even if it doesn’t meet one requirement, the oil will be differently classified or declared as not in compliance with the purity standards.

Over the years this regulation has been updated and edited through regulation no. 1429/92 and recently through regulation no. 706/2002 which sets new limits as regards acid composition of oils and some important chemical and physical parameters. In order for you to be better informed, we list hereafter a series of EC regulations that have edited Reg. 2568/91, even though not substantially, particularly with regard to analysis methods: 3682/91, 1683/92, 1996/92, 3288/92, 183/93, 62/93, 177/94, 2632/94, 656/95, 2527/95, 2472/97, 282/98, 2248/98, 379/99, 455/01, 702/07.