When you walk into most traditional 'mom and pop' restaurants in Germany.....you tend to notice one thing. They all have this oil/vinegar glass container set on the table. It's a mix of olive oil and various types of vinegar for the salad that comes out.
I imagine that this has been a regular tradition for most places....for at least fifty years, maybe longer. Complaints? In a ten-year period, I doubt if there's ever been a single complaint ever made in Germany over this practice.
Well....the EU has gotten itself into a fairly big mess over this topic. They've pass a law, which will be forced across all EU countries on 1 January 2014. It basically stipulates that you must serve olive oil or vinegar....in a plastic disposable container. You the customer, must ask for it, and somewhere in this mix....I'm guessing that there will be an extra charge to this (kind of like how Germans charge for ketchup).
How did this come about? No one in the EU is saying much except it came up for a vote....discussed for a short time, and then passed. The restaurant reaction? So far, they are simply making minor comments....as if they weren't expecting this. The general cause for this....basically cleanliness and hygiene. The EU can truthfully say that they are protecting the food safety of the public, and it could be a positive thing.
So what happens now? A vast change is required over six months as vinegar and olive oil makers have to find plastic industry companies that will take their product and quickly develop the packaging, and prepare to deliver it by December to restaurants across the entire continent
Will it happen? Only if the companies assemble their best and work their employees hard through the summer vacation period. The right size solution? That will be a particular problem. Some folks are awful dedicated to olive oil and vinegar use, and you'd need a sizable four-ounce plastic container for them. Other folks? A two-ounce container might be enough.
My gut feeling is that everything will shift to four-ounce containers with some cost to the customer (unlike now), and the makers of olive oil will have to make more.....to satisfy the European 'thirst' for their product.
Forcing more business, more profit, more consumption? Yeah. And maybe there is some olive oil lobby out there who gave money to a number of EU representatives. Corruption generally finds a way to fix profits, one way or another.
So as January rolls round and you visit your local German restaurant and order a salad.....prepare for some odd question to be tossed at you....would you want some olive oil or vinegar? And if so....what type? You can figure your meal just got 40-cents more expensive with that question.