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The international legislation on the marketing of table olives refers to the COI, Trade standard applicable to table olives COI/OT/NC n.1 of December 2004 which repeals the unified qualitative standard applicable to table olives in international trade T/ OT / Doc. 15 of 2 October 1980, revised in 1981, and the Codex Alimentarius (CODEX STAN 66-1981 and subsequent revisions). The national legislation on marketing is part of the more general legislation on food preserves.

According to the provisions of the IOC, the term “table olives” applies to products:

  1. prepared with healthy fruits from cultivated olive trees (Olea europaea L.) belonging to varieties suitable for the production of table fruits, chosen taking into account the following criteria: volume, shape, good pulp-to-pit ratio, fine pulp, good consistency and flavour, with pit easily detachable from the pulp
  2. undergoing treatment of debittering and preserved through natural fermentation or heat treatment, with or without preservatives;
  3. packaged with or without preserving liquid.

Based on the degree of ripeness, table olives meet the following classification:

  1. Green olives: fruits picked during the ripening cycle, before veraison and when they have reached normal size;
  2. Olives turning colour: fruits harvested before complete ripeness, at the time of veraison;
  3. : fruits picked when they have reached full ripeness, or shortly before.

Among the numerous cultivars that can be counted worldwide we find, just to name a few, Sevillana and Manzanilla (Spain), Galega (Portugal), Kalamata (Greece), Domat and Gemlit (Turkey), Picholine Marocaine (Morocco), Mission (USA), Meski (Tunisia) Jlott (Syria), Sigoise (Algeria).

The Italian market also has an abundant variety, consisting of, among others, by: Taggiasca, Ogliarola, Moresca, Tonda, Nocellara, St. Catherine, Ascolana tenera, Bella di Cerignola, Carolea, Dolce di Melfi.

Furthermore, the following PDOs belong to Italy:

PDO LEGISLATIVE REFERENCE
Nocellare del Belice
EC Reg. 134/1998 (Official Gazette Ce L 15/6 of 21.1.1998)
Bella della Daunia
EC Reg. 1904/2000 (Official Gazette Ce L 228/57 of 8.9.2000)
Oliva ascolana del Piceno
EC Reg. 1855/2005 (Official Journal of the EU L 297/5 of 15.11.2005)
Oliva di Gaeta
EC Reg. 2252/2016 (Ue Official Journal L 340/47 of 15.12.2016