The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) has advised restaurants that they can still serve olive oil in dipping bowls beyond next year's ban.
A controversial ruling from the European Commission is due to come into force in January 2014, banning jugs of olive oil and dipping bowls on restaurant tables.
But the SRA has claimed that the regulation covers only 100% olive oil, meaning that once salt, herbs or balsamic vinegar are added, the regulation does not apply.
It said that an EU official had confirmed the loophole in the regulation, which is designed to protect the interests of olive oil producing nations by ensuring branded bottles aren't refilled with inferior product.
The regulation states that from 1 January 2014, restaurants will only be allowed to serve olive oil in pre-packaged, factory bottles with a "tamper-proof" dispensing nozzle, which adheres to EU labelling standards. Though it appears that by adding another ingredient when serving the oil in bowls the regulation can be sidestepped.
SRA managing director Mark Linehan said: "Provenance is at the very core of the SRA's principles, so we are sympathetic towards efforts to highlight the source of any product.
"However, we do have serious misgivings about singling out olive oil for special treatment, particularly as it would appear that this new regulation could have significant waste and packaging implications. We trust that whichever body polices this regulation in the UK will apply common sense."