Codex Alimentarius

There are several legislative sources concerning the olive oil sector. At a global level, there is no legislative consistency, but there is the CODEX ALIMENTARIUS: set of rules and regulations developed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission.

The Regulations

The Regulations

here are many legislative sources concerning the olive oil sector.

At international level, there is no uniformity in terms of laws, but the univocal reference is the CODEX ALIMENTARIUS, which is the set of rules and directives elaborated by the "Codex Alimentarius Commission".

In the oil sector, in particular, the "INTERNATIONAL OLIVE COUNCIL" (IOC), an intergovernmental organization unique in the world, which gathers producers, consumers and operators of the olive oil and table olives sector, is active.

On the European continent, the States of the EUROPEAN UNION implement the provisions of the Parliament and the European Commission, set forth by means of Regulations and Directives; the Regulations are directly applicable on the territory of the Union, while the Directives must be transposed into national laws in order to be valid.

Each STATE can promulgate laws autonomously but, for the States of the EU, national laws must not be in contrast with the European ones and must not in any way restrict the free circulation of European goods on the EU territory.

The content of the information provided is updated as at 1 August 2018.

Food and Agricolture Organization World Health Organization

Codex Alimentarius

In 1963, the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) in collaboration with the WHO (World Health Organization), established the Codex Alimentarius Commission which has promoted and constantly updated the CODEX ALIMENTARIUS.

It is a set of internationally standardized guidelines which contributes to improving the safety, quality and fairness of the global food trade.

Consumers are increasingly protected in terms of safety and quality of the food they buy and importers’ trades are safer and safer.

The Codex Committee on Fats and Oils (CCFO) is one of the auxiliary bodies of the Codex Alimentarius Commission. Its task is to develop global standards for animal and vegetable fats and oils, including olive oil.



The International Olive Council, established in 1959 in Madrid under the patronage of the United Nations, is the only world Intergovernmental Organization in the Olive Oil and Table Olives sector. The following Countries are currently members of the IOC: Albania, Algeria, Argentina, Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Montenegro, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, the European Union, Uruguay.

The Agreement currently in force dates back to 1986, amended in 1993 and prorogated several times

The COI has the following purposes:

- encourage the increase of international trades in olive oil and table olives;

- set and update the trading rules;

- strive for quality improvement.

The decisions of the IOC have a coordination and recommendation value for the laws that each State or Community of States wants to implement. They establish a series of physico-chemical and organoleptic criteria for the denominations of olive and pomace oils mentioned in the International Agreement and set the quality and purity criteria appropriate to each denomination.



The European Union (EU) has over time issued different regulations concerning the sector of olive fats and oils and olive pomace oils. Currently, there are two regulations concerning the production and trade of oils deriving from olives:

Commission Regulation (EEC) 2568/1991 (on the characteristics of olive oil and olive-residue oil and on the relevant methods of analysis) in the consolidated text after further amendments (link →) Last amended only in the Italian text with (link →)

EU Regulation 29/2012 (on marketing standards for olive oil) (link →) Amended by the EU Regulation 1335/2013 (link →)

The following regulations concerning all foods - including olive oils - should also be taken into consideration

EU Regulation (establishing a common organization of the markets in agricultural products) (link →)

EU Regulation 1169/2011 (on the provision of food information to consumers) (link →)



The Italian legislation currently in force is composed of several regulations of different origins and types. There are regulations in force - even old ones - never repealed or amended that, although were promulgated before the birth of the European Union, have not lost their efficacy as they are not in contrast with EU Regulations. Below are the most important rules.

In the Royal Decree N. 2033 of 15 October 1925, in art. 20 we find the definition of oil: "The name of "oil" or "olive oil" is reserved for the product of olive processing (Olea europaea) without the addition of external substances or oils of another nature

The Law N. 1407 of 13 November 1960 provides the "Regulations for the classification and sale of olive oils" (link →)

The Law N. 1104 of 24 July 1962 imposes the "Prohibition of esterification of oils of any species intended for edible use" (link →)

The Law N. 134 of 7 August 2012, art. 43, paragraph 1 bis and 1 ter, indicates the "Characteristics of Italian oil" and the codification of the "tasting PANEL" (link →)

The Ministerial Decree of 10 November 2009 provides the "National provisions relating to olive oil marketing standards" in reference to European legislation (hlink →)

The Law N. 9 of 14 January 2013 - amended following the intervention of the European Commission - establishes regulations on the quality and transparency of the olive oil supply chain. (link →)

The Ministerial Decree of 23 December 2013 – amended by the Ministerial Decree of 8 July 2015 - provides the method for the "Application of the regulations contained in EC Regulation 229/2013 modifying the EU Regulation 2568/1991" (link →)

The Ministerial Decree of 18 June 2014 establishes the "Criteria and methods for the recognition of the panel of tasters" (link →)

The Law 161 of 31 October 2014, art. 18 imposes regulations on "Bottle closures in public retail and catering business" (link →

The Legislative Decree N. 103 of 23 May 2016 establishes the sanctioning provisions related to the violations of EU Regulation N. 29/2012 and of EEC Regulation 2568/91 (link →)

The LEGISLATIVE DECREE N. 231 of 15 December 2017 sets the fines for the violations of the provisions of EU Regulation N. 1169/2011, concerning the provision of food information to consumers (link →)