bill-to-create-california-olive-oil-commission-clears-senate-bill-to-create-california-olive-oil-commission-passes-senate-hurdle
California State Senator Lois Wolk

On a bipar­ti­san vote, the Senate approved Senate Bill 250, a mea­sure by Senator Lois Wolk (D‑Davis) to estab­lish a state com­mis­sion to help coor­di­nate efforts by state olive grow­ers and oil man­u­fac­tur­ers to strengthen the com­pet­i­tive­ness of California’s olive oil indus­try. The bill now moves to Governor Jerry Brown for his con­sid­er­a­tion.

“Establishing this com­mis­sion is a vital first step toward pro­tect­ing con­sumers and pro­vid­ing California’s olive oil indus­try a fair play­ing field where they can grow and thrive,” said Wolk, Chair of the Agriculture Subcommittee on Olive Oil Production and Emerging Products.

Senator Wolk intro­duced the bill in the Senate Agricultural Committee on April 16, where it was unan­i­mously approved. “California’s olive oil indus­try has been grow­ing expo­nen­tially over the past five years,” Wolk said at the time. “The indus­try believes it is time to sup­port a coor­di­nated effort to pro­vide for olive oil research and stan­dards to pro­mote the sus­tain­abil­ity and suc­cess of this impor­tant agri­cul­tural prod­uct.”

There are cur­rently 16 active, industry-​funded agri­cul­tural com­mis­sions in California cre­ated to enhance their indus­tries’ com­pet­i­tive­ness through pro­mo­tion, adver­tis­ing, edu­ca­tion, mar­ket­ing research, sci­en­tific research, and the cre­ation and reg­u­la­tion of qual­ity stan­dards. SB 250 would cre­ate the Olive Oil Commission of California within the Department of Food and Agriculture to allow the indus­try to con­duct research and estab­lish prod­uct grades and stan­dards through the Secretary of Food and Agriculture.

The mea­sure is part of Wolk’s ongo­ing effort to address chal­lenges fac­ing the state’s expand­ing olive oil indus­try, includ­ing com­peti­tors sell­ing fraud­u­lent and low-​quality olive oil. A study con­ducted by the UC Davis Olive Center found that 65 per­cent of imported extra-​virgin olive oils bought off the shelves of California super­mar­kets failed to meet inter­na­tional stan­dards for olive oil qual­ity — con­clud­ing that many of the imported olive oils tested were falsely labeled as extra vir­gin grade.

SB 250 has numer­ous sup­port­ers, includ­ing the California League of Food Processors and California Olive Oil Council (COOC).

“We com­mend the Legislature for its pas­sage of this impor­tant mea­sure and applaud Senator Wolk’s vision and sup­port for the con­tin­ued growth of the olive oil indus­try in California,” said Patricia Darragh, the COOC’s Executive Director.

“The American Olive Oil Producers Association applauds Senator Wolk and her col­leagues in Sacramento for hav­ing the fore­sight to pass SB 250 to estab­lish the Olive Oil Commission of California. We encour­age Governor Brown to sign this bill into law for the peo­ple of California and all those who enjoy the health ben­e­fits and the delight­ful fresh taste of extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duced there,” said Kimberly Houlding with the American Olive Oil Producers Association. “The estab­lish­ment of this com­mis­sion will assure con­sumers that they can con­tinue to trust the excep­tional qual­ity of California extra vir­gin olive oil.”

“The pas­sage of SB 250 is an impor­tant and excit­ing mile­stone for the California olive oil indus­try. The need for olive oil stan­dards and sup­port in impor­tant areas of the busi­ness includ­ing mar­ket­ing are crit­i­cal to the future of the indus­try in our state. I strongly encour­age the Governor to sign this bill as a major step in lay­ing a foun­da­tion from which the olive oil busi­ness can con­tinue its rapid growth,” said Dick Neilsen, General Manager of McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma.

“As a small arti­san olive oil pro­ducer we wel­come the estab­lish­ment of the Olive Oil Commission of California. Their reg­u­la­tions, research, and mar­ket­ing will serve both small and large pro­duc­ers fos­ter­ing California’s grow­ing recog­ni­tion as pro­duc­ers of world class olive oil,” said Lillian Dickson with Regina Extra Virgin Olive Oil, grown and pro­duced in Napa.


Comments

More articles on: , , , ,