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Essential Reading

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Need more proof?  Below you will find the documentation approved by the European Union and all 27 Member States of the European Union and the European Food and Safety Authority 

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Credibility of the EFSA

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Safety in the food chain from farm to fork is the core mission of The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). A health claim is any statement about a relationship between food and health.  Health claims made in relation to food products require authorization under Regulation EC 1924/2006 before they can be used in the labelling and marketing of these products in the EU.  The EFSA, Panel on Dietetic Products, Nutrition and Allergies (NDA) is responsible for verifying the scientific substantiation of the health claims. 

Over 300 universities, institutes, governmental, public and other scientific bodies currently form a network of all organizations active in fields within EFSA. EFSA scientific networks are composed of national organizations that collaborate with EFSA. This networking further boosts the sharing of expertise and best practices in these scientific areas. Competent organizations in 27 Member States carry out various tasks in support of EFSA’s work, including preparatory work for scientific opinions, scientific and technical assistance, collection of data, and identification of emerging risks.

 

Any claims submitted for inclusion must be examined by EFSA and approved by the European Commission and all 27 Member States.

The EFSA, unlike The United States Food and Drug Administra􏰀tion (FDA), the Canadian Food Inspecti􏰀on Agency (CFIA), and the Department of Health of Canada (Health Canada), defines func􏰀tional  foods as “a food, which beneficially affects one or more target func􏰀ons in the body, beyond adequate nutritional effects, in a way that is relevant to either an improved state of health and wellbeing and/or reduc􏰀tion in risk of disease.

The list of permitted health claims established by Commission Regulation (EU) No 432/2012 is regularly updated with newly authorized health claims subject to individual application submitted pursuant to Article 13(5) of Regulation (EC) No 1924/2006.

 

EU countries provided national lists of approximately 44,000 health claims to the Commission for consideration.  These were consolidated into a list of 4,637 claims and sent to the EFSA for evaluation.  Out of the 4,637 claims only 2,758 were approved, 331 claims ere withdrawn, and 1,548 claims have been placed on hold by the Commission pending further consideration.  

There are three types of Health Claims within the 27 Member States of the EU:

  1. Functi􏰀onal Health Claims (or Ar􏰀ticle 13 claims) relate to the growth, development and func􏰀ons of the body; Referring to psychological and behavioural func􏰀ons; and, on slimming or weight-control

  2. Risk Reduc􏰀tion Claims (or Ar􏰀ticle 14(1)(a) claims) on reducing a risk factor in the development of a disease.

  3. Health Claims referring to children's development (Ar􏰀ticle 14(1)(b) claims).

The following claims can only be applied to the highest grades of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). Virgin Olive Oil, Refined Olive Oil, and Commercial Olive Oil would not meet the criteria for the condi􏰀tions of use of the claim. EVOO meets the criteria of four nutrient categories and has claims in all three categories of legislati􏰀on.

The summary table below are the APPROVED health claims currently ac􏰀tive in 27 European countries.  

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Coming Soon

We are in the process of uploading PDF files of all back-up information used during the creation of the laws on  health claims and risk reduction claims reducing a risk factor in the development of a disease, and Health Claims referring to Children's Development. 

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THE SCIENTIFIC OPINIONS

EU countries provided national lists of approximately 44,000 health claims to the Commission for consideration.  These were consolidated into a list of 4,637 claims and sent to the EFSA for evaluation.  Out of the 4,637 claims only 2,758 were approved, 331 claims were withdrawn, and 1,548 claims have been placed on hold by the Commission pending further consideration.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil has 4 nutrients that were passed under three separate areas of laws:  Health Claims, Disease Risk Reduction, and Disease Risk Reduction for Children.  Below are the opinions.  

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More EU Laws and Controls

Other types of controls

Besides controls that are specific to the olive oil sector, EU countries have to ensure that other legal requirements are respected. The general food law covers all stages of the production, processing  and distribution of food. The general labelling rules ensure that consumers are not mislead  regarding characteristics of oils (composition, quality, origin, category, method of production) and that labelling of olive oil is in accordance with general food labelling rules established in Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011.

International organisations

International Olive Council

The EU is a member of the International Olive Council (IOC), an international intergovernmental organization in the field of olive oil and table olives. It was set up in Madrid, Spain, in 1959.  Its current members include the leading international producers and exporters of olive oil and table olives. IOC Members account for 94% of world olive production, of which the EU accounts for almost 72%.

Codex Alimentarius

The Codex Alimentarius Commission develops and adopts food standards that serve as a reference for international food trade.  There is a specific standard for olive oils and olive pomace oils (CX-33-1981) setting up provisions regarding the description, essential composition and quality factors, labelling rules and methods of analysis and sampling.

The standard is currently under revision with the aim to harmonize existing national standards with the Codex standard.

Committees and expert groups

The committee for common organization of agricultural markets meets regularly to discuss areas such as the evolution of market prices, production and trade in the EU and non-EU countries. The committee also assists the Commission when adopting implementing acts.  The civil dialogue group and working group on horticulture, olives and spirits allows the Commission to maintain a regular dialogue with stakeholders on all matters related to the olive sector.

The expert group for agricultural markets contains a subgroup of olive oil chemists, who assist the Commission in the preparation of legislation and the definition of policy definition regarding olive oil chemistry and standardization. The subgroup is composed of representatives of national administrations and experts appointed in a personal capacity by the Commission.

Olive oil legislation

Legal bases on olive oil include legislation on marketing standards for olive oil, characteristics of olive oils and olive-pomace oils, producer organizations, support programmes, private storage, and price notification.

Marketing standards

EU legislation regulates marketing standards for olive oils and olive-pomace oils.

 

Organics

The legislation on organic farming governs all areas of organic production and is based on a  number of key principles, such as prohibition of the use of GMOs, limiting the use of herbicides and pesticides.

 

Geographical indications

Producers of olive oils can apply for a registration under Regulation (EU) No 1151/2012 on quality systems for agricultural products and food to obtain a protected designation of origin or a protected geographical indication.

 

Private storage

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 1333/2013determines the notification obligations within the common organization of agricultural markets.

Commission Delegated Regulation 2016/1238 lays down common rules for the granting of private storage aid for certain agricultural products.

Following important stocks at EU level as well as consecutive good harvests, creating an imbalance between supply and demand and a price decrease, the European Commission approved private storage aid for olive oil aimed at stabilizing the market and increasing prices. The scheme operated through four tendering procedures, with the first one in November 2019 and the last one concluded in February 2020.

 

Support programmes

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) No 611/2014 sets out the support programmes for the olive oil and table-olives sector.

Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) No 615/2014outlines detailed rules in respect of work programmes to support the olive oil and table olives sectors.

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