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Lebanon olive oil contaminated with toxic chemicals

The minister announced a host of measures designed to target abusers, alongside international partners including the Italian Development Cooperation

New labeling laws for olive oil will be introduced in response to last week’s revelations that oils in Lebanon are contaminated with toxic chemicals, caretaker Agriculture Minister Hussein Hajj Hassan.

The reform pledges come after media reports emerged that several oil brands contained chemicals such as Benzopyrene and Acrolein.

Both substances are harmful to human health and known to increase the instance of cancers.

Hassan accepted full responsibility for the lax implementation of ministry safety standards but insisted the new guidelines, formulated by the National Committee for Olives and Olive Oil, member of which were present at Monday’s news conference, will help Lebanon revive its olive oil industry.

It is hoped the classification of olive oils by the Lebanon Standards Institution into four categories will assist consumers and producers alike and help boost production.

The categories are expected to be; excellent extra virgin olive oil, extra virgin olive oil, regular olive oil and mixed olive oil containing both virgin and dated olive oil older than 18 months. All producers wishing to add chemicals to oils will also have to declare so on the packaging.

Source: The Daily Star

by S. C.
04 april 2011, World News > Asia