Black olives are dyed in Austria , consummer protectors warn

The consumer information department of the Upper-Austrian Chamber of Labour (Arbeiterkammer, AK) has criticised a lack of clear information on olives which have been artificially coloured.

According to the chamber, it is not rare for unripe olives to be coloured black to be sold on the market. They have called for a clear labelling of these products as “blackened olives”.

The Chamber of Labour (AK) has found 11 different types of olives without clear labelling on the market.

The consumer informants have said that neither the taste nor the durability of the olives are improved by the artificial colourants.

The olives are blackened due to the fact that they are too soft to remove the stones mechanically. Black olives are also substantially more costly to harvest and transport and a larger quantity goes to waste than in the case of ripened green olives.

The consumer protectors have called for the ingredient list for blackened products to be updated. The added, artificial product (such as E 579 or E 585) should be listed next to the other ingredients and clearly make the consumer aware of their presence in the product.

Green olives, rich in minerals and water, contain 130 calories per 100 grams. The black olives, rich in important unsaturated fats, contain 350 calories per 100 grams. The green olives have a much more intensive taste then the black ripened version. They have a firm skin and the stone is still slightly green.

Expert consumer protectors at the AK recommend to those who wish to be on the safe side to buy biological olives – as it is statutorily illegal to colour bio-olives.