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Parliamentary questions
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28 November 2018
Answer given by Mr Hogan on behalf of the European Commission
Question reference: E-005214/2018

EU legislation on Organic production(1) restricts the use of food additives and processing aids, so they are used to a minimum extent and only in the case of essential technological need or particular nutritional purposes. It excludes also substances and processing methods that might be misleading regarding the true nature of the product.

Finally, it requires that the processing of food is done with care, preferably with the use of biological, mechanical and physical methods.

EU legislation provides that only the additives and processing aids that are authorised for use in organic production may be used. Currently, the use of sodium hydroxide is not authorised for the debittering of olives as it is not listed for this particular use in Annex VIII Section A (food additives) or Section B (processing aids) of Regulation (EC) 889/2008(2).

Italy submitted a dossier to the Commission requesting the addition of the use of sodium hydroxide for the debittering of olives to Annex VIII Section B to Regulation (EC) 889/2008. The dossier was assessed by the Expert Group for Technical Advice on Organic Production (EGTOP). Overall, EGTOP(3) considered that the use of sodium hydroxide for debittering of olives is not in line with the objectives, criteria and principles of Regulation (EC) 834/2007.

The Commission shares the opinion of EGTOP and, therefore, does not intend to amend Annex VIII Section B of Regulation (EC) 889/2008 in order to authorise the use of sodium hydroxide for the debittering of olives in organic production.

(1)Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 of 28 June 2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products and repealing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91, OJ L 189, 20.7.2007. See Articles 6(b)(c)(d) and 19 (b) and 21.
(2)Commission Regulation (EC) No 889/2008 of 5 September 2008 laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 on organic production and labelling of organic products with regard to organic production, labelling and control. OJ L 250, 18.9.2008

Last updated: 28 November 2018Legal notice