Checks and Labels
Transparency and safety are the keywords of European olive oil.
EU regulation establishes that ‘in order to protect the health and wellbeing of consumers and ensure their right to be informed, it is pivotal to guarantee that consumers are kept informed on the food that they consume..’
The label is the identity card of olive oil produced in Europe.
Attached to each package, the label allows consumers to immediately have all the information on the oil that they intend to purchase.

Each part of the label must contain clear, easily readable information and follow strict European regulation.
For this reason, EU’s legislation also imposes strict control rules.
According to the legal framework, countries of the European Union must carry out a minimum number of checks every year based on the volume of olive oil marketed, to ensure compliance with the marketing standards for olive oils and olive pomace oils.

The checks are aimed at verifying that the labels and packaging comply with the legal requirements and that the oil conforms to that declared category.

The label investigations, in particular, ensure that the name or trade name under which the oil can be sold to the consumer complies with the rules established by Regulation (EU) no. 1308/2013.
It should be remembered that European olive oil can never be sold in bulk: the package must always contain a closure system that maintains its integrity after the first opening.

In order to discern between good and bad olive oil, consumers should be aware of the different ‘denominations’ and related ‘categories’ of this product: 

Being informed about a product is the first step to making a conscious decision about what you are buying. 

Here are the main categories of oil: 

- extra virgin olive oil is "the category of olive oil of the highest quality, obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means;

- virgin olive oil is also obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means;

- "olive oil" is instead composed of refined olive oils and virgin olive oils. (Olive oil contains only olive oils that have undergone a refining process and oils obtained directly from olives);

- differently from the categories above, olive pomace oil: is an oil containing exclusively oils derived from the processing of the fruit obtained "after" the extraction of the olive oil, together with oils obtained directly from olives; or, it can also be oil containing exclusively oils resulting from the treatment of olive pomace (pomace is a by-product of the extraction process) and oils obtained directly from olives.

It is also mandatory to indicate the net quantity of oil contained in the package in liters, centiliters or milliliters.

Among the items indicated on the label, one deserves particular attention. Indeed, on the packaging of European olive oil you can read the ‘best before’ date which, contrary to popular belief, does not correspond to the expiration date, but to the date after which the oil loses its original organoleptic characteristics.

The label must contain guidelines on the best storage methods, useful to ensure that the product maintains its characteristics until the ‘best before’ date. The most common are "keep the product away from light and heat", however the label may also indicate the maximum degrees of temperature in which it is best to store the olive oil.

Furthermore, on the identity card of the European olive oil you will find the name of the seller of the product, the batch number and the nutritional declaration showing the energy value and the quantity of carbohydrates, fats, salt, proteins, fibers and mineral salts. Finally, it is mandatory to indicate the year of production for extra virgin olive oil or virgin olive oil only if 100% of the harvest comes from the same harvest year.
The content of this promotional campaign represents the point of view of the author who takes full responsibility for it.
The European Commission is not responsible for any use of the information contained therein.