June 8, 2023


Complete News World

Sounding the olive oil alarm: – Should stop immediately

Drought is ravaging southern Europe. Now that the plains of Spain are so parched, the olive oil alarm is sounding.

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Many countries have really felt the effects of the heat wave and drought ravaging southern Europe. In Italy, the water level of the country’s longest river has dropped significantly and Spain experienced its hottest April on record.

Now as a weather phenomenon El NinoEl NinoEl Niño is a condition of unusually high surface temperatures in the central and eastern Pacific near the equator. An El Niño episode affects the weather of most of the Earth, and also the global average temperature. (Source: snl.no) On its way, experts are predicting a summer with several record heats.

– Should be stopped immediately

But last year too, southern Europe had a very hot and dry summer, and this had consequences for olive oil production and the price level of liquid gold.

Financial Times Prices have risen nearly 60 percent since June last year, while world production has fallen 26 percent over the past year. EU.

Now it seems that someone has tried to introduce a measure to lower prices in Spain, causing panic among Spanish farmers. El Mundo.

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Organization of Small Farmers in Spain (UPA), He says They are very concerned about the development of olive oils sold in the market: real olive oil is mixed with other types of cooking oil.

– The practice has arisen due to the rise in the price of olive oil as a result of the increase in production costs and the short duration of the drought, the UPA says, and believes that the practice is very harmful to olive producers and others. of industry.

– We are entering a period with unpredictable consequences for the industry as a whole. This should be stopped immediately.

Blending oils made from different raw materials is not illegal across Europe, although in Spain it is prohibited by oil quality standards. However, they can import and sell bottled adulterated oil in other countries.

CNN In Spain, he writes, drought affects 60 percent of the country’s countryside. Also, it has destroyed about 3.5 million hectares of crops.

– Animal husbandry is endangered because farmers need pasture for their cattle. Agricultural meteorologist Serge Zaga tells CNN that losses are also expected for orchards, vineyards, olive oil production and vegetable farming.

Jørgen Lund, Norway’s leading expert on olive oil, tells VG that mixing different oils is not an entirely unusual practice.

– Unfortunately, fraud in the olive oil industry is not new. But if it is properly advertised, it is a very good product in terms of taste, cooking temperature and nutrition. But if it is sold as extra virgin oil, it is fraud, he says.

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– Can illegal olive oil products also come to Norway?

– My personal conclusion, from 18 years in the industry, is that Norway is a small market, so fraudsters are not interested enough to put themselves at risk. Oil refining is very demanding industrially, so they rely on making some money from it, he says, adding that Norway is bound by the same rules as the rest of the EU.

He insists that random sampling and taste tests will easily reveal whether or not it is genuine olive oil.

– Given the drought, do you think we’ll see more of these products legitimately on the market in the coming years?

– No, these are natural fluctuations. Due to this, the liquor industry is also in dire straits. It’s the same with vegetable growers and more, Lund says.

According to Lund, the production of the last harvest in 2022/23 in Spain is down by 50 percent. For Italy and Portugal, the decline is 35 percent, and for Tunisia and Morocco, 25 and 30 percent respectively. In Greece and Turkey, yields rose by 50 percent.

While some heat waves are natural, climate change is helping to intensify them, says Cicero’s climatologist Marianne Transtad Lund.

– We know there was huge damage to crops last year, and water shortages and high temperatures clearly have the potential to damage food production, he says.

Sigrun Gerlov Ösland, executive director of the environmental foundation Zero, reminds us that the severe droughts we see in southern Europe are largely caused by climate change.

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– This is a clear sign that climate change is approaching and that it will have consequences for us, he says.

Food from Spain and Italy is an important part of our food supply. Ausland believes that when drought affects production, it has consequences for all agricultural products and increases pressure on topsoil.

– It’s not about olive oil and risotto, but about our entire diet. This is much bigger than individual items, it is a systemic crisis.

Warning: Sigrun Zerlov Ösland, general manager of environmental fund Zero, believes it will heat up in the coming years.

He also warned that it will heat up in the coming years.

– It can have huge effects on the food we eat. Both food supply and food prices will change, says Zero’s manager.

– What does El Niño mean for Europe?

– El Nino is a natural climate variability and comes on top of the climate changes we are seeing now. This can have far-reaching consequences.

However, he believes that what is happening now in Europe can also be seen as a positive opportunity. Opportunity for political action.

– We can still reverse this development. The more we notice climate change, the more we can do something about it. Because now we see what happens when we do nothing, says Ausland.

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