The EU has banned olive oil from being served in traditional glass jugs in restaurants.
The EU has banned olive oil from being served in glass jugs in restaurants

The EU has banned restaurants from serving olive oil in traditional glass jugs or in glazed dipping bowls.

Under the new legislation, olive oil can now only be served in pre-packaged, labelled bottles with tamper-proof nozzles.

Restaurateurs argue that they will now be unable to source their olive oil from small-scale producers, and traditional artisanal food making techniques will suffer, while industrial producers profit.

Sam Clark, proprietor of the award-winning Moro restaurant in London, told the Telegraph: "This will affect us. It is about choice and freedom of choice. We buy our oil, which we have selected from a farm in Spain, to serve our customers.

"Yet more packaging is not going to be eco-friendly and will limit choice to more mass produced products," he said.

"Haven't they already done enough damage to artisan products?"

Defending the ban, EU spokesman Olivier Bailly said that it had been introduced to prevent consumers being conned and served an inferior product.

"We are just making clear that when you want to have olive oil of a certain quality in a restaurant, you get exactly the one you are paying for," Mr Bailly said.

"We are just protecting consumers", he said, and insisted that that the non-refillable bottles would also "improve hygiene."

The EU olive oil industry has long been rife with fraud, with producers passing off inferior oil as expensive 'extra virgin' olive oil.

In Portugal, the ban has been in place since 2006.

However, one official told the Telegraph: "This is the sort of thing that gets the EU a deservedly bad name. I shouldn't say so but I hope people disobey this ban.

"It will seem bonkers that olive oil jugs must go while vinegar bottles or refillable wine jugs can stay."

Most of the 27 members of the European Commission backed the ban, but Britain abstained from the vote.

Farmers' federations supported the new law.

"This will ensure a high-quality product for consumers," Rafael Sanchez de Puerta of the Copa-Cogecas Federation said.

"Also, by displaying the name, origins and storing conditions, this will help to preserve the image of olive oil."