Question for written answer to the Commission Rule 117 Sergio Paolo Frances Silvestris (PPE) , Paolo De Castro (S&D) , Giovanni La Via (PPE) , Clemente Mastella (PPE) , Vincenzo Iovine (ALDE) , Raffaele Baldassarre (PPE) , Salvatore Caronna (S&D) , Carlo Fidanza (PPE) and Lorenzo Fontana (EFD)
Subject: Extra virgin olive oil: review of alkyl esters parameter
On 1 April 2011 Regulation (EU) No 61/2011 enters into force. This regulation adds parameters relating to fatty acid methyl esters (FAME) and fatty acid ethyl esters (FAEE) to the methods for analysing extra virgin oil as a means of identifying the presence of substances resulting from processes of fermentation and degradation in poor-quality olives.
However, in order to ensure that the extra virgin olive oil placed on the market is of the best quality and prevent the marketing of deodorised oils and fraudulent mixtures, many associations and businesses have pointed out that the alkyl esters parameter should be lowered from 75 mg/kg to 30 mg/kg if extra virgin olive oil is to be properly identified.
The current threshold — 75 mg/kg — is not stringent enough to protect producers and prevent the spread of impure mixtures containing lampante oil, which are still too often available on the market owing to the fall in extra virgin olive oil prices.
The start of the 2011-2012 olive oil production year has in fact once again been characterised by wholesale purchase prices that are too low and cannot even cover production costs. This has justifiably given rise to a strong reaction on the part of producers and oil pressers, who are exasperated by the adulteration that causes distortions of the market and ignore the rights of consumers.
In view of the above, the Commission is asked to answer the following:
Does it not consider it of fundamental importance to ensure that consumers are provided with guarantees as to the actual composition of the oil they purchase and are not misled but given accurate information at the time of purchase?
Does it intend to review Regulation (EU) No 61/2011 in order to bring it into line with the new market requirements by bringing the alkyl esters parameter down from 75 mg/kg to 30 mg/kg and thus guaranteeing the quality of genuine extra virgin olive oil?