Olive oil jugs and dipping bowls will be banned from restaurant tables from next year following a controversial ruling by the European Commission.
From January 1, restaurants will only be able to serve olive oil in pre-packaged, tamper-proof, factory bottles which adhere to EU labelling standards.
The decision has unsurprisingly not gone down well with restaurant-goers and chefs alike.
European Commission spokesman Oliver Bailly tried to alleviate some of the criticism by claiming the new regulation would actually benefit consumers.
He told a news briefing in Brussels: ‘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.’
The regulation, which will ban the traditional refillable jugs and terracotta dipping bowls now common place in countless restaurants, was criticised as an attack on ‘freedom of choice’, by food writer and critic Sam Clark.
He told the Daily 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.’
“Hygiene” and protecting the “image of olive oil” are the reasons being used to justify the ban, according to The Telegraph, with the measure set to help struggling industrial producers in Spain, Italy, Greece and Portugal.
But there are fears that the ban will hard small and traditional producers hard and cut consumer choice.