House Rejects Olive Oil Import Restrictions, Then Farm Bill Altogether

House Rejects Olive Oil Import Restrictions, Then Farm Bill Altogether | Olive Oil Times
Congressman Chris Gibson

The Unites States House of Representatives failed to pass the 5- year Farm Bill today by a 195-234 vote, according to C-SPAN. Only 24 Democrats voted in favor of the bill.

Earlier today, the House overwhelmingly (343-81)  voted in favor of an amendment proposed by U.S. Congressman Chris Gibson of the 19th District of New York to remove an olive oil provision from the bill.

The Gibson amendment struck the olive oil import restriction contained in section 10010 of the bill. Under 10010, if a marketing order for olive oil is established, olive oil imports would be subject to restrictions such as taste testing.

Eryn Balch, executive vice president of the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), which represents olive oil importers and supported the amendment to remove the olive oil provision, said she hoped the provision’s defeat  “might open a door now to other ways, other than a marketing order, to improve standards enforcement in the U.S.”

“When you look at the facts, it was very clear that this was something that was overly burdensome, expensive and offered no oversight of the product after inspection, so it wasn’t going to stop fraud,” Balch said.

The California Olive Oil Council, which was pushing for section 10010, called the olive oil provision part of “a common sense program requiring imports to be held to the same standards as American olive oil.”

“Obviously the COOC works very hard to develop a competitive domestic industry based on quality, and we’re very disappointed,” said COOC Director Patty Darragh. “We just felt that importers should meet the same standards as domestic producers. This was a minimum request, and it is not good news for consumer and retailers alike.

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This article was last updated November 30, 2014 - 11:33 AM (GMT-5)