European Union U-turn over refillable olive oil ban

Environment Secretary: 'common sense has prevailed'

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The Independent Online

Mooted EU plans to ban restaurants serving olive oil in refillable bottles have been ditched only a week after they emerged.

Last week, the European Commission said that restaurants should only be allowed to serve the oil in non-refillable bottles with a proper label. It said this would prevent restaurants from serving low quality oil and improve hygiene.

But it also played into the hands of people who complain that the EU is too meddlesome, with Prime Minister David Cameron saying: "This is exactly the sort of area that the European Union needs to get right out of, in my view."

Today, the Commission said it was withdrawing the proposal because not enough member nations had supported it.

European Union Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos conceded that the ban was "not formulated in such a way as to assemble widespread support".

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson welcomed the U-turn, saying: "I'm glad the Commission has seen sense and backed down on these arbitrary rules.

"They would have interfered with businesses, imposed unnecessary costs and taken choice away from consumers. Common sense has prevailed."