California Certified: Who Made the Grade

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By Yardley Messeroux Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from New YorkEnforcement of olive oil quality standards is still an elusive issue, since there isn’t a structured monitoring system for every bottle that hits the shelves. Producers are expected to follow the guidelines of the International Olive Council and the USDA, but it’s on the honor system.So the common concern must be addressed yet again — what will give consumers, and olive oil aficionados for that matter, assurance that the extra virgin they’ve purchased actually made the grade?Luckily, certification programs exist like that of the California Olive Oil Council. With their new list of certified olive oils, the COOC continues to push the relevance of ‘the seal’ to both producers and consumers.Through the COOC certification program, members are required to submit their oils to undergo a testing procedure to earn the COOC seal of approval. This seal is added to the labeling of the olive oils that make the extra virgin grade.For producers, it all boils down to reputation and profitability. For consumers, it makes it that much easier to identify quality Californian olive oils that will benefit the taste of their cooking, as well as the health of their families.The COOC set their criteria a notch higher than industry standards of the International Olive Council and the USDA. The testing process ensures the olive oil contains less than 0.5 percent free oleic acid (the IOC and USDA standards are set to only 0.8 percent); the olive oil cannot be extracted with chemicals or using excessive heat; and it must pass taste testing performed by a highly skilled panel of expert, certified tasters.The COOC celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and they have listed a veritable who’s who of California olive oil with the release of their 2012 seal winners. If you are a fan of good olive oil, take a gander at the roster of freshly certified extra virgins from the Golden State. Seventeen of the producers made the list three years in a row. Integrity never tasted so good.   

View the California Olive Oil Council’s Certification Seal Winners

Alta Cresta Orchard *
Italian Blend
Tuscan Blend

Araujo Estate Winery Olive Oil *

Bari Olive Oil *
Organic Arbequina
Organic Arbosana

Bava Family Grove

Bozzano Olive Ranch *
A2 Organic
Bosana Organic
Leccino Organic
Maurino Organic
Triple A

California Olive Ranch *
Miller’s Blend

Calivirgin-Coldani Olive Ranch *

Corning Olive Oil Company

Corto Olive Oil *
Miller’s Blend

Cumae Ranch *
Estate EVOO

Enzo Olive Oil 
Organic Arbosana
Organic Koroneiki

Grumpy Goats Farm 
Organic Coratina
Organic Pendolino
Organic Picual

Hillstone Olive Oil Company *
Organic Arbequina
Organic Koroneiki

Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company *

Jericho Canyon Vineyard

Jovia Groves *

Lucero Olive Oil *

Owens Creek *
Rocky Mesa Blend
Tuscan Blend
Sicilian Blend

Roanti Ranch
Seka Hills

Talcott Olive Oil *
Carneros Estate

Tasting Bars, LLC 
Drizzle Olive Oil

Tres Osos Olive Oil *

Val di Luna Farms *
Tuscan Blend

Winterhill Estate *


* Producers that earned the seal 3 years in a row

    Sources:California Olive Oil Council International Olive Council Standards United States Standards for Grades of Olive Oil and Olive-Pomace Oil

This article was last updated May 14, 2013 - 10:50 AM (GMT-5)

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  • Kerry

    Good to know! I’ll keep the list handy and look for the seal.

  • Blackbuttekoi

    I’ll look for the COOC cert. before buying.  Thanks!

  • Paul Vossen

    Unfortunately, the COOC testing procedure is not independent. Member oils are tested by an in-house panel, which limits the valididy of the results.