European Union Agriculture Commissioner Dacian Ciolos took to a regular media podium to perform a U-turn that spawned a string of Twitter gags and reaction, but stuck to his line that restaurateurs are potentially misleading customers by pouring cheap or old oil into containers presented as new.
"We want to avoid consumers being tricked," said Ciolos of the rationale behind the decision announced last week, after a committee of agricultural experts failed to muster the required qualified majority in favour.
But Ciolos added: "Since Friday, I have seen and heard...strong views expressed by ... consumers."
He said he now recognised that the ban was "not formulated in such a way as to assemble widespread support."
"As a consequence, I am withdrawing the proposition."
Olive oil-producing countries from the southern Mediterranean were in favour of tightening the regulations to ensure oil was clearly labelled, whereas northen European countries -- consumers -- were against.
Ciolos said he would now put producers, traders, restaurateurs and diners "round the same table" in a bid to "find a better way."
Asked why he had not attempted to apply similar restrictions on wine in eateries, the Romanian Commissioner -- top EU executives are famously well rewarded in Brussels -- had this to say.
"I have rarely found an open bottle of wine served on my table."
Scottish MEP Alyn Smith, a member of the European Parliament committee tasked with monitoring this policy area, tweeted that the "olive oil proposal was, after all, virgin on the ridiculous."