Harrods, the London-based luxury department store, was forced to remove a range of Tuscan olive oil after Italian food authorities objected that it had been bottled in the UK.
The store, owned by Qatar, branded the olive oil as “Tuscan extra virgin,” however, even if the olives were indeed from Tuscany, the bottling process was carried out in the UK.
Olive oil can only be labeled Tuscan if the whole manufacturing process, including growing, pressing and bottling takes place in the Italian region. That was not the case with the oil sold at Harrods, which therefore infringed on geographical indications as specified by EU regulations.
The problem first came to light during a search on the store's website. Italian officials then visited London, bought a bottle, which sells for £12.95, and filed a report to the food and farming department Defra, which is responsible for verifying food authenticity. Defra responded by saying they had the store remove all olive oil until changes to the labeling have been made.
Stefano Vaccari, the inspector who led the investigation, said, “Labels like that suggest the product's Tuscanness, but it was bottled in the UK, as in fact it said on the label, and this contravenes the product protocol laid down by the European Community.”