`Olive Oil Importers Ask FDA for 'Enhanced Standard of Identity'

N. America

Olive Oil Importers Ask FDA for 'Enhanced Standard of Identity'

Jul. 29, 2012
Lara Camozzo

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The North Amer­i­can Olive Oil Asso­ci­a­tion (NAOOA) has sub­mit­ted a peti­tion to the Food and Drug Admin­is­tra­tion (FDA) for an enhanced stan­dard of iden­tity for olive oil and olive-pomace oil prod­ucts” to define the dif­fer­ent grades of olive oil and the ana­lyt­i­cal meth­ods used in their deter­mi­na­tion.

The NAOOA, whose mem­bers are com­pa­nies that import olive oil into the U.S., said it first peti­tioned the FDA with the same objec­tive in 1990.

The peti­tion, dated July 9th, is seen as a response to a move ear­lier this year by Amer­i­can olive oil pro­duc­ers. A group led by Adam Engle­hardt, vice pres­i­dent of Cal­i­for­nia Olive Ranch, drafted a fed­eral mar­ket­ing order hop­ing to set higher qual­ity stan­dards, rede­fine grades and require new test­ing of all olive oil pro­duced in the United States. If adopted by the USDA, indus­try sources said domes­tic pro­duc­ers would push for the rules to apply to imports too.

Importers, on the other hand, have been call­ing for an align­ment of U.S. trade stan­dards with those estab­lished by the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil. Ninety-nine per­cent of the olive oil Amer­i­cans con­sume is imported.

In a state­ment, NAOOA Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Eryn Balch said We should take advan­tage of the due dili­gence already per­formed on the part of indus­try sup­port­ers, state leg­is­la­tors and the USDA that demon­strates there is sub­stan­tial inter­est as well as con­sumer and trade ben­e­fits to man­dat­ing a com­mon def­i­n­i­tion of the grades of olive oil and meth­ods of proof related to the olive oil cat­e­gory. An align­ment of the fed­eral stan­dard is the last piece of the puz­zle to ease the path on the crit­i­cal aspect of enforce­ment.”

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