`Australian Olive Oil Takes the Ball, Runs

Australia / NZ

Australian Olive Oil Takes the Ball, Runs

Jul. 21, 2011
Curtis Cord

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Seiz­ing on the momen­tum of yes­ter­day’s announce­ment of new vol­un­tary olive oil stan­dards and wide media cov­er­age, Aus­tralian Olive Asso­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Paul Miller took to the air­waves Wednes­day.

A sen­sa­tional prime­time tele­vi­sion seg­ment on Today Tonight” began with a voice-over stat­ing Aus­tralians are mas­sive con­sumers of olive oil. Apart from Mediter­raneans, Aus­tralians buy more olive oil than any other coun­try.” While that state­ment would be true with­out the exis­tence of the United States and Japan, it was just the begin­ning of the seg­men­t’s stun­ning deter­mi­na­tion to score one for the home team.

Aus­tralia has become a dump­ing ground,” the report con­tin­ued, for the old oils that Italy and Spain, in par­tic­u­lar, don’t really want.”

Draw­ing a line in the sand, the report ref­er­enced a report by the con­sumer watch­dog Choice: Tests revealed Aus­tralian olive oils are top qual­ity and passed all the tests, but imported Span­ish Greek and Ital­ian oils tested did not meet inter­na­tional stan­dards.”

How­ever, accord­ing to the results of the June, 2010 Choice study, some imported oils did meet the require­ments for extra vir­gin, while some Aus­tralian brands failed the acid­ity and organolep­tic bench­marks for the clas­si­fi­ca­tion.


Yet near the end of the seg­ment in a call­out box only the imported brands were listed as fail­ures,” while the Aus­tralian olive oil brands that were mis­la­beled as extra vir­gin — Best Buy, The Olive Tree and Ollo — some­how escaped the pub­lic shel­lack­ing.

Miller pro­vided a glimpse at how Aus­tralian pro­duc­ers plan to cap­i­tal­ize on the new stan­dards, even if they are vol­un­tary: If the major retail­ers drag the chain on this, we’ll just keep push­ing the fact that Aus­tralian oils com­ply with the stan­dard,” he said.

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