Many restaurants in Europe have direct relationships with small producers and are proud to offer these artisanal products to their patrons. Olive oil is a common product acquired and offered in this way. Restaurants offer high quality, local oils in small jugs because the olive oil has never been bottled.
The EU wants to ban this practice under the guise of ‘hygiene’ and protecting the ‘image’ of olive oil. Small producers stand to lose out as they cannot afford to bottle their oil. But big producers stand to gain by squashing these small competitors. Which raises the question of who is actually driving this ban.
Mr Clark (chef proprietor of Moro, London) attacked the regulation as one that would kill off artisan producers and accelerate the demise in Europe of traditional ways of making and serving food, in favour of large industrial producers. “It is very upsetting. Haven’t they already done enough damage to artisan products?,” he said.
This sort of thing is not unique to the EU. It was recently reported that a farmer in Wisconsin is to stand trial for selling raw (unpasteurised) milk. Even though the people he sold to were members of a private buying club which purchased directly from him. Under the guise of protecting consumers from bacteria, industry has convinced government to make it illegal to sell unprocessed milk. Even though there were only 2 reported deaths in 14 years, out of 3000 annual food related deaths, attributed to raw milk.
The sale of unpasteurised milk is also restricted in South Africa, although due to our unique circumstances, these regulations are not strictly enforced.
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The European Commission has shelved its plan to ban refillable olive oil bottles on restaurant tables in the face of what it acknowledged as strong consumer opposition.