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Sunday 9 May 2021

Economy & Finance Beyond the COI ... the problems of Italian oil continue

Beyond the COI… the problems of Italian oil continue

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We talked about the International Olive Council and the insane policies pursued by the leaders of this organization. We only talked about it and "natural theater". It does not happen by chance: the interests at stake are enormous and Italian politics is too busy in its provincial rites to realize that it is trying to liquidate another heritage of the Bel Paese. There is no need to be a sorcerer to look with painful concern at the climatic events that have affected several territories again this summer. Last year's ice did not do good for agricultural crops and did very bad for olive plants. And not only in Puglia. And certainly the hailstorms and floods of this crazy torrid summer are not a panacea.

As an old popular saying goes, it rains in the wet. A phenomenon that manifests itself unequivocally: the decline of olive growing. The cold is a seasonal accident, as are the tornadoes during the summer, or the rains that become water bombs, but the lack of olives depends on the insufficiency of trees.

olive harvest
Olive oil campaign 2019, what awaits us? Photo credit: Tuscus oil mill

The debate on the crisis has always been open and decisive recipes have always been recited: a new humanism, a new renaissance, a new resurgence and a "new" discourse. It is no longer known what other noun to invent to associate with the adjective "new" for owner or to introduce one of the numerous conferences, articles, conferences or simple meetings of associates that organize themselves on the crisis of extra virgin olive oil.

It has become a national sport: and so while at home we are an academy, the cargo ships are ready to land thousands of tons of fantastic Tunisian or Andalusian oil that will return to sail the Tyrrhenian waves to supply our industry also during the next oil campaign bottling.

Let's face it: our oil industrialists may not know how to produce it but, better than anyone else, they know how to buy it, how to mix it and above all how to pack it (sometimes how to mask it). Just as we must know that it is not enough to praise nature and its fruits, the earth and those who work it, because food is a much more complex thing. And even more complex is the culture from which food originates, and the culture that food generates. It is the economic and social system that determines.

Paraphrasing Carlo Petrini we could say that for the culture and the economy of food "we don't need the serial and linear processes typical of the industry, we need the wisdom of men and women" meaning for men and women not those mentioned by Rousseau but rather those who opened Lorenzo il Magnifico's shop in Florence: the artists and the craftsmen.

Raw material and its transformation, agricultural product and handicraft, an inseparable combination. Nobody can deny it, but nobody talks about it. Yet it is the key, indeed the turning point.

The use of oil in the kitchen, the combination of food, the gustatory relationship between oil, vegetables and cereals. All this made of particular taste by the original work of the new chefs, who define "loving the neighbor" their creations in the kitchen. And as proof of this, not the judgment in the chair of the fashionable dietician, but the science of nutrition that documents how high quality extra virgin olive oil is an excellent nutraceutical, precious for health. With a significant conclusion: not all oils extracted from olives are good, only quality ones have real positive and preventive affection for many diseases. 

The time has come to call things by their real name again and to replace the neutral and amorphous language of collective absolution with the old categories of biblical language that defines Evil what offends the dignity of man and Good what promotes it. . So if only the quality of the extra virgin olive oil determines beneficial effects on human health - given that the quality is obtained when the oil master, starting from a healthy fruit, is able in the extraction phase to retain all the its phenolic components and vitamins A, D, E which otherwise end up in the vegetable water - we must say that all other dietary fats, from olive oil to seed oils, to animal fats (such as margarine), which they are obtained with chemical additives, they are bad. And the list cannot miss that so-called extra virgin-owl at 2,99 euros that has returned to crowd the supermarket shelves.

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