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Australian & New Zealand Olivegrower and Processor, May/June 2009 edition.

>From July 1 2009, all virgin and extra virgin olive oil will have to be labeled with the country of origin under a new European Community rule.

The current optional labelling, dating from 2002, “has proven insufficient,” the EC has announced. These new labeling requirements mean that olive oils originating from just one country will have to carry the name of the EU-member state, or of the third country or of the Community.

Blends will be labelled either as ‘blend of European Community olive oils’, ‘blend of non-EU olive oils’ ‘blend of EU and non-EU olive oils’ or equivalent information.

Certain terms such as ‘fruity’, ‘green’, ‘mature’, ‘mild’ and ‘well-balanced’ – which have recently been defined by the Madrid-based [url= International Olive Oil Council may also be used on virgin and extra virgin olive oil labels for oils complying with the definitions. The new rules will apply from 1 July 2009.

The EC said in its statement that “these rules complement the rules for specific oils which are protected as part of the system of geographic indications and are designed to offer further guarantees to consumers that what they buy in a sealed container corresponds with their preferences and expectations.”