Take Brussels oil law with a pinch of salt, restaurateurs advised

Date:23-05-2013 07:58:04 read:4

Take Brussels oil law with a pinch of salt, restaurateurs advised

New EU restrictions only apply to unmixed olive oil served at table, restaurant group claims - meaning venues serving mixed or flavoured oils will be unaffected.

A recent EU regulation intended to guarantee the purity of olive oil served at restaurants caused alarm across the industry and outrage in Parliament - but there may be a loophole.

The law, due to come into force at the start of 2014, states: “Oils made available to the final consumer in hotels, restaurants and pubs and bars shall be packed in containers equipped with an opening system which cannot be resealed after it has first been opened, together with a protection system preventing them from being reused once the contents indicated on the label have been finished.”

This is already the practice in many oil-producing countries, where diners have a labelled bottle on their table and it is up to them to decide whether it’s good enough, or half-empty and therefore past its best.

In most British restaurants, olive oil is decanted into bowls, jugs or flasks before being served to customers instead.

But the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), which has sought clarification on the rule from Brussels, says that the law will only apply to 100 per cent olive oil. Herb or chili oils, oils with a drop of balsamic or a pinch of salt for dipping bread, will be unaffected.

Mark Linehan of the SRA said: “Provenance is at the very core of the SRA’s principles… However, we do have serious misgivings about singling out olive oil for special treatment, particularly as it would appear that this new regulation could have significant waste and packaging implications. We trust that whichever body polices this regulation in the UK will apply common sense.”

James Clappison MP, of the European scrutiny committee, has called the new law “crazy". One branch of UKIP is reportedly offering free bottles of olive oil to members in protest against what they see as a classic example of Brussels interfering in everyday life.

    Ever For Health Copy Rights 2013