|Archive for Downsizer For an ethical approach to consumption
|mr olive oil
deceit in the food industryAfter many years of producing, importing and selling olive oil as well being registered with the local authorities with regards selling my products, I was paid a visit by the local health authorities and it was bought to my attention that my Cypriot olive groves were in fact situated in northern Cyprus
i was also told that northern Cyprus is not a recognized country, so although I had oleic acid certificates and government certificates certifying my products are fit for human consumption I was told that if I did not remove my products from sale they would remove and destroy, bearing in mind that I personally produce, import and package my goods, also you can only purchase directly from me
They proceeded to take a one liter bottle from my shelves stating that they were going to send it away for analyzing and would proceed to prosecute me depending on the outcome of the tests, they also said that the test would be able to tell in which part of the world the oil was produced, insinuating that it was not my produce
I challenged them to pop into any of the large supermarkets and randomly take a variety of there extra virgin olive oils and send them off together with mine for analyzing, and when they received the reports back they should come along and sit down for a discussion with me, where we could make comparisons, sadly they never did return with the reports
I am a very small producer no different than any other average committed producer and I am very proud of my products, I maintain quality by being hands-on, from the tree to the bottling, in other words my oil does not pass through any machinery
I asked the authorities if they had any objections to my giving my products away free of charge and there reply was they could not do anything about that, I replied that I would be charging for the containers for instance a one liter bottle would sell for £10 but the olive oil contents would be free
because of all the write ups and press exposure that I have had I have been approached a number of times asking if I was interested in taking up advertising space in some of the national papers, I was also told that it would increase my sales 20 fold, my reply was I already sell all what I produce without any advertising, where would I get the additional stocks from, basically you can only buy my produce directly from me not through any of the supermarkets, in fact because I refuse to have my oil professionally bottled I am not allowed to sell through any third parties, but that’s fine as my years produce is normally exhausted before the years end
presently I sell a 500ml bottle of my extra virgin olive oil for £6.50 if I was forced to send my products off for analyzing in the UK and then send it off to have it professionally bottled etc I would have to sell it for at least £12.50 per 500ml bottles, for the quantity I produce this process would put me out of business
i cannot understand why the authorities do not follow up on products and labeling they should be focusing on recently Harrods was made to remove from their shelves olive oil which was labeled as Tuscan olive oil simply because it was bottled in the UK and therefore could have been tampered at the bottling process, although they had the certification proving it was produced in Tuscany
Throughout the med the normal process of certification is as follows
Once the producers have had their oil pressed they are required to take a one liter bottle along to the lab where it is tested and certified, the problem is that the certificate only represents the one liter, which is top quality, for instance I could use the certificate to represent a large amount of second grade oil which I am about to have bottled
i would like to take you back a few years when i noticed two of the largest supermarkets in the UK selling one liter stone capped bottles labeled as cloudy extra virgin olive oil produce of Tuscany, I noted that this olive oil was being sold in September, they were being sold for £3.99 reduced from £5.99
now being a olive oil producer myself my curiosity was aroused being as any cold pressed extra virgin olive oil when pressed in the months of October through to December is cloudy due to the sediment, this is normally allowed to settle and then bottled leaving most of the sediment in the original containers the sediment is then sold off to soap makers and so forth , some producers will filter there oil immediately after pressing in order that they can bottle and sell on
i have also in the past bottled when first pressed and cloudy but what happens is that within a month the sediment settles to the bottom of the bottle leaving the oil crystal clear, in some cases if you are not careful leaving a good half inch of sediment in the bottom of the bottle, which to the consumer is waste
so it aroused my curiosity as to what process it was put to in order that it was still permanently cloudy, this in my view was done to deceive the consumer that the oil was very fresh, now unless the supermarkets had members of staff going around shaking the bottle on a daily basis I can only assume that it was put through a process to keep it cloudy and it should not have been labeled extra virgin olive oil
Not forgetting that some producers also buy cheap low grade oil and chemically adjust the oleic acid in there oils in order that they can legally label there oil as extra virgin, this is why I would like the health authorities to randomly pick various extra virgin olive oils from supermarket shelves as well as specialist shops and send away for analyzing
i have been approached by some people at farmers markets where they have enquired as to the price of a one liter bottle of my oil when told the price is £10 they shake their heads and say that they are able to purchase a one liter bottle from a particular chain store for £3.99, i tell them that this is impossible as the cost of producing and importing etc actually leaves me very little profit on my £10 bottle
however curiosity got the better of me and i visited one of these stores to check for myself, it was true a one liter bottle was on sale for £3.99 and it was labeled as extra virgin olive oil until i read the small print which stated that the contents were 10% extra virgin olive oil and the remainder was pomace, pomace is what is sometimes known as lamp oil and in my view is not fit for human consumption basically you get what you pay for
The best way to test extra virgin olive oil is to slurp a little and warm it in your mouth and then to swallow, good olive oil will go down like fruit juice and it will leave a very pleasant long lasting taste in your mouth without leaving any grease or fat residue.
the rules and regulations regarding labeling has got a lot to answer for, for instance olives when you buy them loose is there anything to tell you where they originate from, how were they cured, were they produced by a small holder in the traditional method of curing with salt or brine or were they cured with caustic soda, consumers are not aware of what they are buying in a lot of cases
i would also like to point out deceit in other fields with regards food production this has been pointed out to me by a very trustworthy source that is employed in one of the following industrial bakeries
a large bakery producing bread and cakes in vast quantities in conditions that are outdated in ovens that do not work correctly, this bakery has been described to me as rat and pigeon infested, although when the health authorities are going to pay a visit the bakery is given 2 weeks’ notice in order to clean up, this is apparently done as the local borough does not wish to shut the premises down as it would put too many people out of work
in another part of town there is another state of the art bakery which confirms to all regulations, in fact it was awarded a contract to supply a large chain of supermarkets who stringently check there producers to make sure all is up to standard
The state of the art bakery cannot cope with the amount of work so instead of expanding they choose to send the cake mixture frozen and chilled to the other bakery where it is baked and packaged and labeled as if it were produced, packaged and labeled at the state of the art bakery
The same out of date bakery produces bread and delivers in plain vans to some farmers markets and this is sold to the public on the pretext that it is produced in an artisan bakery
this is deceit and it can be found in all sectors of the food industry, not so long ago eggs that were sold as organically produced were found to be produced from battery hens, jams said to have been produced from locally produced fruits in the UK were found to have been made from fruit imported from china, you can go on and on
I feel that the authorities should be carrying out more stringent tests on the large producers who are more often than not in pursuit of high profit margins
That’s not to say that the small producer should not be checked thoroughly, but bears in mind that in most cases they produce excellent produce but cannot afford to opt for the designer packaging, labeling and marketing
Support them because in most cases you are getting the genuine article
Well, that was a mammoth yet timely post. Hairyloon will no doubt find it interesting.
Food testing is a huge cost when you've only got a low throughput, and many authorites can't afford to do it either. But the Brits do love a "bargain".
The difference between 3.99 ev olive oil and decent stuff is blatantly obvious. Tell people they get what they pay for.
The difference between 3.99 ev olive oil and decent stuff is blatantly obvious. Tell people they get what they pay for. |
Aye, 'cause that works.