Olive oil labelling, designation of origin, packaging and sealing
Regulation (EU) No 29/2012 requires that the labelling of olive oils and olive-pomace oils must bear, in clear and indelible lettering, in addition to the sales description, but not necessarily close to it, the following information on the category of oil:
(a) extra virgin olive oil: ‘superior category olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means’;
(b) virgin olive oil: ‘olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means’;
(c) olive oil composed of refined olive oils and virgin olive oils: ‘oil comprising exclusively olive oils that have undergone refining and oils obtained directly from olives’;
(d) olive-pomace oil: ‘oil comprising exclusively oils obtained by treating the product obtained after the extraction of olive oil and oils obtained directly from olives,’ or ‘oil comprising exclusively oils obtained by processing olive pomace oil and oils obtained directly from olives’.
Olive oil labels must match the product and must meet the requirements of the regulations.
Regulation 29/2012 states what information must be on the label, as well as what optional information can be included.
Article 3 states what information must be on the label for certain categories of olive oil.
Article 4 states that labels for ‘extra virgin olive oil’ and ‘virgin olive oil’ must show a ‘designation of origin’ while labels for ‘olive oil composed of refined olive oils and virgin olive oils’ or ‘olive-pomace oil’ mustn’t show a ‘designation of origin’.
Article 4a states that the label must show any special conditions for how the oil should be preserved, for example, that they must be stored away from light and heat.
Article 4b states that certain mandatory wording must be grouped together where it can be seen clearly and clarifies that it must also be the same text and size.
Article 5 explains what one must do if optional information on a label is to be included.
Designation of origin
Designation of origin means reference to a geographical area on the packaging or the label attached to the packaging.
Designation of origin should be restricted to extra virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil only. Olive oil composed of refined olive oils and virgin olive oils, as well as olive-pomace oil must not bear any designation of origin on the labelling.
Designations of origin referred to above must only consist of:
(a) in the case of olive oils originating from one Member State or third country, a reference to the Member State, to the European Community or to the third country, as appropriate; or,
(b) in the case of blends of olive oils originating from more than one Member State or third country, one of the following mentions, as appropriate:
‘blend of Community olive oils’ or a reference to the Community;
‘blend of non-Community olive oils’ or a reference to non- Community origin;
‘blend of Community and non-Community olive oils’ or a reference to Community and non-Community origin; or
(c) a protected designation of origin or a protected geographical indication referred to in Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012, in accordance with the provisions of the product specification concerned.
If the olives have been harvested in a Member State or third country other than that in which the mill where the oil was extracted from the olives is situated, the designation of origin must contain the following wording: ‘(extra) virgin olive oil obtained in (the Community or the name of the Member State concerned) from olives harvested in (the Community or the name of the Member State or country concerned)’.
Packaging and sealing
Under Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 29/2012, Article 2, olive oil must be sold in a sealed bottle or container that can’t be re-sealed after the first time it’s opened.
Labelling of blends and foodstuff
Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 29/2012, Article 6 further states what information can appear on the labels of blends (olive oil and other vegetable oils) and foodstuff with a presence of olive oil.
Conformity checks are carried out in order to confirm that products comply with Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2568/91 with respect to quality criteria related to the specific oil mentioned in the sales description, as well as labelling according to Regulation 29/2012.