23rd May 2013
I had hoped that the recent story on how the EU was going to ban olive oil jugs & dipping bowls in restaurants was either a scare story invented by the press or a belated April Fool. Sadly it would appear that this is actually true.
The European Commission made these new rules as part of a package of measures that included improved labelling. The aim was to prevent the substitution of high quality extra virgin olive oil with cheaper alternatives. Whilst I welcome the new labelling rules, banning refillable bottles is absurd. It will create unnecessary waste and impose extra costs on small businesses.
Let us be under no illusions that this was motivated by the Commission's desire to protect the public, rather it was brought about by pressure from large scale producers of olive oil looking to keep prices artificially high.
No doubt we in Britain will enforce these rules and punish small restaurateurs who breach them, whilst they go largely ignored in southern Europe.
This is yet another example of the EU making itself look foolish by failing to apply an ounce of common sense.