Oil Crisis

A spectre is haunting Europe. Not Communism, not radical Islam, but … olive oil. Specifically, little dishes and jugs of olive oil served on restaurant tables:

The small glass jugs filled with green or gold coloured extra virgin olive oil are familiar and traditional for restaurant goers across Europe but they will be banned from 1 January 2014 after a decision taken in an obscure Brussels committee earlier this week.

From next year olive oil “presented at a restaurant table” must be in pre-packaged, factory bottles with a tamper-proof dispensing nozzle and labelling in line with EU industrial standards.

The use of classic, refillable glass jugs or glazed terracotta dipping bowls and the choice of a restaurateur to buy olive oil from a small artisan producer or family business will be outlawed.

Further proof that big business and big government long ago decided to kiss and make up: Regulations such as these (and countless other restrictions on the processing and serving of food not just in Europe but the US and Australia and the rest of the industrialised world) serve to make the entry cost for new businesses and artisinal operations that might offer disruptively better products prohibitively high.

Unsurprisingly, Eurocrats claim the move is for the good of the citizenry:

Officials defended the ban as a protection for consumers who would know that they were getting a safe, guaranteed product with proper labelling of its origin and with tamper-proof, hygienic dispensers.

“This is to guarantee the quality and authenticity of the olive oil put at the disposal of consumers. The aim is to better inform and protect consumer. We also expect hygiene to be improved too,” said an official.

Of course. But the real question is, why do people tolerate this sort of thing? For as long as the Prick can remember the EU has been a figure of (slightly sinister) fun as never a week goes by without a report of some Brussels interdict or other providing editors with a bit of slow-news-day fodder. The old saying about freedom not being lost all at once but rather by degrees looms large, and if a jug of olive oil on a table – arguably, one of the most ancient and enduring symbols of European civilisation and gastronomy – can be made illegal, anything can.

But as with every other silly rule to come down the pike, it is easier for most to go along than it is to kick against the pricks, as it were. In her brilliant book Iron Curtain, Anne Applebaum writes about how during the Cold War, Eastern Bloc governments were able to gain a grudging complicity from their subjects by ever-so-slowly shrinking the sphere of what was permissible, and that people who just wanted to get on with their lives and feed their families had to make accomodations.

The modern day EU is not a Stalinist state – it is more Huxley than Orwell, for now at least – but it does seem to operate on very much the same totalitarian lines, albeit softer ones, whereby everything is the government’s business and woe to he or she who acts otherwise.

And like the old Stalinist bureaucracies of the East, the EU is now collapsing under the weight of its own penury and idiocy.

The sooner the better.

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13 Responses to Oil Crisis

  1. Bob Colman says:

    And each course served at same restaurants should come in a sealed container with a full list of ingredients. Upon receiving devine approval from the consumer the package can then be microwaved and served at the table, eaten with sterilised disposable knife and fork.

    • I have had meals like that on ‘fast train travel’ between Rockhampton, Qld & Brisbane. Sometimes these are prepared and packaged in Prison Factories/Kitchens. Love ❤ your satirical comment.

  2. youcancallmemeye says:

    I wonder how many people have died or became seriously ill because of this ancient dipping culture. My local Greek restaurants at Brighton-Le-Sands continue the tradition and I haven’t noticed patrons falling out of their chairs over the years; not from the olive oil dipping at least.

    Were the same models, used to justify the hysteria over ‘global warming’, used by the EU to justify this nonsense?

    I fear that the head prick is not using hyperbole to point out that if this ancient pleasure can be made illegal, anything can. What next? you can’t take home a ‘doggy bag’ unless you pack it yourself – oh wait, that is the case here and now.

    And Bob Colman, your scenario is too depressingly imminent for it to be funny.

  3. Disillusioned says:

    I would say it is funny that the EU is turning on those businesses that made Europe what is today if I didn’t believe that the same idiocy will come to Australia in the near future. A Liberla government will only slow the process but like glaciers moving it will come to pass. The stupidity of it is that owner/operator small business should be exempt. Any contamination will kill their operation almost instantly unlike the large operators.But one must remember it is the EU after all. No one can tell them what to do, especially if you don’t have to be re-elected.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Why are leaving dangerously unpacked water to be served in open glasses?

    • youcancallmemeyer says:

      And salt and pepper in those non airtight containers.

      There ought to be a law against it, I say.

      • Deadman says:

        I’m more worried about those knifes and forks freely available to any sociopath who cares to be seated in a restaurant; they’re not just dangerous, they’re often lethal; and they ought to be banned immediately, or at least licensed and regulated.

      • Bob Colman says:

        What about fingers? You could poke someone’s eye out! Lets face it, restaurants are dangerous places and should be outlawed.

    • youcancallmemeyer says:

      Yes, those fingers. – I see where you’re coming from Bob.

  5. Pingback: Balmain Review: Balls to the Wall at Mezebar | Prick With A Fork

  6. Doug Arthur says:

    Banning wiping the mouth with the back of one’s hand could be next.

  7. A list of food crops requiring the help of honey bees to help fertilize can be found.
    http://www.nrdc.org/wildlife/animals/bees.asp
    Perhaps the banning of Bayer’s– EU’s Ban Of Neonicotinoid
    has brought a back lash on these products & outlets one by one?
    What they have against restaurants is unclear unless it is just a case of the Big Fella wanting
    all of the Pie as have Big Pharm v the herbalist.

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