Olive oil fraud

Carmen Aguilar made this Freedom of Information request to Rural Payments Agency

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Rural Payments Agency,

This is a request for information under the Freedom of Information Act.

I would like to request the number of cases of olive oil fraud in the United Kingdom between the years 2010 and 2017 (both inclusive).

For each case in which the product didn't meet the regulatory quality standard, please also provide with further information regarding:
- Year in which the case was registered by the sanitary authority.
- The causes for not meeting the regulatory requirements:
o Labels without the European Union requirements.
o Products with a label establishing a superior quality for the product than it truly is
o Adulteration of the product
o Deterioration of the product
- If the case was related to health issues
- The name of the product and the name of the supplier.
- The country of origin of the product.
- The number of units of the product registered in retailers in the UK.

Some parts of this request may be easier to answer than others, and should this prove to be the case I would ask that you release available data as soon as possible rather than hold up the entire request.

I would like to receive that information in electronic and preferably in .xls or .csv format.

If you feel that a substantive response to this request is not possible within a reasonable time frame or the request is too broad, I would be grateful if you could provide me with assistance as to how I could refine the request.

Yours faithfully,

Carmen Aguilar

Information Rights Team, Rural Payments Agency

12 March 2018
Ref: RFI 4742
 
Dear Ms Aguilar,
 
Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 Advice & Assistance
 
Thank you for your request for information on 6 March, which is being
considered under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOI).
 
RPA does not hold information in relation to your request prior to 2014 as
responsibility for conformity checks on olive oil marketed in the UK was
only acquired by RPA in 2014. We will therefore consider your request
based in the information held from this time.
 
We normally expect to respond to requests within 20 working days.
 
If you have any queries about this let us know.
 
Yours sincerely
 
 
Information Rights Team
Rural Payments Agency | North Gate House | Reading | RG1 1AF
Tel: 03300 416502 | Fax: 03300 416574 | Email: [1][email address]
Follow us on Twitter @Ruralpay
Annex A
 
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1. mailto:[email address]

Information Rights Team, Rural Payments Agency

4 April 2018
Ref: RFI 4742
 
Dear Carmen Aguilar
 
Re: Freedom of Information Act 2000 – Information Request
 
Thank you for your request for information dated 6 March 2018, which we
have dealt with under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA).
 
You have asked for information relating to the number of olive oil fraud
in the United Kingdom between 2010 and 2017.
 
Please find the RPA’s response to your request below.
 

 1. The number of olive oil fraud cases between 2010 and 2017 (both
inclusive)

 
The RPA undertakes conformity checks in accordance with EU Regulatory
requirements but can confirm it does not hold any specific information in
respect of the above (fraud).
 

 2. Where the product didn't meet the regulatory quality standard, the
year in which the case was registered by the sanitary authority

 
2015 - 22
2016 - 21
 
Information is not available for 2017 as these figures are currently being
collated by the Horticultural Marketing Inspectorate before being notified
to the European Commission by 31 May 2018 as required by the EU
Regulations.
 
As the European Commission intend to publish this information in the
future, the exemption at section 22 (information is intended for future
publication) of FoIA applies.
 
When considering refusal of a request under this exemption, we are
required to carry out a Public Interest Test. This test is used to balance
the public interest in disclosure against the public interest in favour of
withholding the information.
 
We recognise that there is a general public interest in understanding how
the government works and transparency of the payments made. In particular,
we recognise that there is a strong public interest in understanding what
payments are being paid under the schemes we administer.
 
We have, however concluded that the adverse impact of publishing this
information prior to the agreed notification to the commission would be
misleading and could lead to the information being incorrectly interpreted
with further questions being raised as a result.
 
For the above reasons the RPA considers that the weight of public interest
lies in withholding the information requested.
 

 3. The causes for not meeting the regulatory requirements

 a. Labels without the European Union requirements

 
2015 – 10
2016 – 9
 
Information is unavailable for 2017 as per question 2.
 

 b. Products with a label establishing a superior quality for the product
than it truly is

 
2015 - 18
2016 – 25
 
Information is unavailable for 2017 as per question 2.
 

 c. Adulteration of the product
 d. Deterioration of the product

 

 4. If the case was related to health issues

 
The RPA can confirm it does not hold any information in respect of the
above.
 

 5. The name of the product and the name of the supplier

 
To avoid impeding the control process or placing traders at an unfair
disadvantage it would not be appropriate to disclose details of suppliers
that may be subject to further investigation or where remedial action is
ongoing or has taken place. Therefore the RPA can advise that we are
unable to provide the name of supplier as stated above.
 
This information is considered commercial in confidence and we are
satisfied that the disclosure of this information would damage the
commercial interests of the business concerned.
 
Section 43(2) of the FoIA provides an exemption to the right to know if
the release of the information is likely to prejudice the commercial
interests of any business (a business may be an individual, a company, the
public authority itself or any other legal entity).
 
When considering refusal of a request under section 43(2) FoIA we are
required to carry out a Public Interest Test. This test is used to balance
the public interest in disclosure against the public interest in favour of
withholding the information. We must also take into account that under FOI
there is a presumption towards disclosure of the information.
 
We recognise that there is a public interest in information about the
activities of regulatory bodies as it is in the public interest to
facilitate the accountability and transparency of public authorities for
decisions taken by them, and for their spending of public money. Such
transparency assists individuals in understanding decisions made by public
authorities affecting their lives and, in some cases, in challenging those
decisions.
 
Conversely, there is a strong public interest in refusing disclosure of
such information that could allow potential competitors to gain access to
a company’s commercial information, or the potential to cause a
prejudicial impact on the commercial interests of a company, and/or the
potential to disadvantage the company’s profits. Disclosure also has the
potential to infringe the RPA’s ability to manage the program effectively
and maintain a private thinking space within which officials can discuss
and ensures a safe space for officials to debate and reach decisions.
 
Therefore, we believe there is no valid justification for release and the
RPA would not want to place commercially sensitive information in the
public domain which would cause harm to the legitimate economic interests
of a company.
 
In this instance, it is our view that the public interest in disclosing
the information is outweighed by the public interest in withholding it.
 

 6. The country of origin of the product

 
The RPA has published information to answer this question on our
disclosure log which can be found via the link below:
 
[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...
 
As this information is already published, it is exempt from disclosure
under Section 21 (information accessible to the applicant by other means)
of FoIA which means a public authority is not required to provide it if it
is reasonably accessible to you in another way.
 

 7. The number of units of the product registered in retailers in the UK

 
The RPA can confirm it does not hold any information in respect of the
above.
 
If you are not happy with the way we have handled your request, you can
ask for an internal review. These requests should be submitted in writing
within two months of the date of receipt of the response to your original
request and should be addressed to the Information Rights Team at the
Rural Payments Agency, North Gate House, 21-23 Valpy Street, Reading, RG1
1AF or alternatively email your request for a review to
[2][email address].
 
If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision. Please note that generally the Information Commissioner cannot
make a decision unless you have first exhausted RPA’s own complaints
procedure. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at:
[3]Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane,
Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Information Rights Team
Rural Payments Agency | North Gate House | Reading | RG1 1AF
Tel: 03300 416502 | Fax: 03300 416574 | Email: [4][email address]
Follow us on Twitter @Ruralpay
 
For information on how we handle personal data view our [5]Personal
Information Charter at Gov.UK/Rural Payments Agency
 
 
 
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References

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2. mailto:[email address]
3. https://ico.org.uk/
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