Greeks Lament EU Decision That Allows Enriching Seed Oils With Phenols

Greek Parliament members criticized an EU decision that allows the use synthetic hydroxytyrosol as a seed oil additive.

A recent session of the Greek Parliament brought up the fact that seed oils can be legally infused with phenols for the first time in the European Union.

Spyros Danellis, a member of the Greek Parliament, brought up the matter of the decision of the European Commission (2017-2373). With this decision, effective January 1, 2018, the Commission granted permission to a Spanish biotechnology company to enrich seed oils with phenols.

Danellis said in his statement: “Since January 2018, the 2017/2373 decision has enabled polyphenols to be added to seed oils, and particularly hydroxytyrosol, which is known as one of the basic healthy substances of olive oil. The blending is allowed up to 215 mg per kilo, very close to the phenols that olive oils should contain.”

“The decision, issued after a claim of a Spanish company, legitimizes adulteration and it will prove destructive for Greek olive oil.”

The specific implementing decision stipulates that hydroxytyrosol can be added to fish and vegetable oils, and also to spreadable fats. It also imposes restrictions that the new products should not be used for cooking, baking or frying, and should not be consumed by children under the age of three or pregnant and breastfeeding women. These restrictions must be written on the label of the product to inform consumers.

Before issuing the decision, the Commission asked the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) to provide their scientific opinion on the safety of using synthetic hydroxytyrosol as a food additive. A panel of experts of EFSA examined the facts and concluded that the proposed use of the substance is safe, within the quantities and the restrictions mentioned above. More

Photo : Spyros Danellis