The controversial move to ban dipping dishes and jugs of olive oil on restaurant tables could still go ahead, despite the announcement by the European Union (EU) yesterday that it was going to drop the planned regulation.
Martin Couchman, deputy chief executive of the British Hospitality Association (BHA), said that the EU has not given up on the plan as it is now proposing to hold a roundtable with restaurant representatives and consumer bodies to discuss what action to take to reinforce existing marketing rules on olive oil.
The EU decided to drop a new policy, which had been due to come into force on 1 January 2014, following widespread opposition from the hospitality industry and consumers. It had hope to introduce a requirement for restaurants to serve olive oil in pre-packaged factory bottles with a "tamper-proof" dispensing nozzle, which would have led to the abandonment of dipping bowls and jugs of oil on tables.
The intention had been to protect consumers from being cheated and served an oil described as high-grade, when it fact it was of an inferior quality.
"It was an idiotic ruling which was compounded by the fact that it was done with no proper consultation," said Couchman. "We will now lobby through HOTREC (the umbrella association of hotels, restaurants and cafes in Europe) against any future ruling which may prevent the service of olive oil in the way that is currently allowed."