Answer given by Mr Cioloş on behalf of the Commission
Commission Regulation (EEC) 2568/91(1) defines the physical, chemical and organoleptic characteristics of the various types of olive oils in order to guarantee the purity and genuineness of the products concerned, without prejudice of other existing provisions, particularly in the field of consumer law. As mentioned, the latest amendment of this legislation is Commission Regulation (EU) 61/2011(2) which introduces for extra virgin olive oil the alkyl esters of fatty acids as an additional parameter to the existing ones. The limits set for this parameter are in conformity with the opinion of the EU expert chemists group and with the relevant work carried out by the International Olive Oil Council. The corresponding limits are:
a content of fatty acid methyl and fatty acid ethyl esters ≤ 75 mg/kg;
a content of fatty acid methyl and fatty acid ethyl esters in the range between 75 mg/kg and 150 mg/kg, if the ratio fatty acid ethyl esters/ fatty acid methyl esters is lower than 1.5. Using this ratio nuances the upper limit as the higher the value, the lower is the quality of the olive oil.
Regarding olive oil quality, the Commission has recently initiated a consultation with the relevant stakeholders in order to examine the opportunity of possible adaptations of the olive oil standard.
Commission Regulation (EU) No 61/2011 of 24 January 2011 amending Regulation (EEC) No 2568/91 on the characteristics of olive oil and olive-residue oil and on the relevant methods of analysis. OJ L 23, 27.1.2011, p. 1.