Austerity, discipline and olive oil

  • Posted: Friday, June 21, 2013 12:01 a.m.

A recent European Union announcement has nothing to do with austerity, but people are riled nonetheless.

After all, the much-disliked bureaucracy has stuck its nose in the olive oil. Figuratively, of course.

Beginning on Jan. 1, 2014, restaurants will be banned from serving olive oil in dipping bowls and refillable jugs. It must be in pre-sealed, labeled, non-reusable containers.

While many Europeans resent that members spent their time on olive oil instead of the ailing economy, officials counter that the industry is suffering due to slick people executing olive oil fraud. Customers can’t be sure if they are dipping their crusty bread in virgin olive oil or extra virgin, from a small boutique farm or from a mass producer. Serious stuff.

The ban is intended to ensure hygiene and the authenticity of olive oils that are served.

Italy, Greece, Spain and Portugal, all of which produce olive oil, were among 15 governments that supported the ban.

Germany was opposed, apparently concerned that the ban will cause waste.

It may be a case of bureaucratic overreach by the EU’s “olive oil bloc.”

But you have to wonder if Germany would react differently to a ban enacted to battle bogus beer.

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