` Trade Group Sues Olive Oil Producer for Deceptive Labeling

N. America

Trade Group Sues Olive Oil Producer for Deceptive Labeling

Feb. 7, 2013
By Nancy Flagg

Recent News

In its first-ever legal action against an olive oil com­pany, the North Amer­i­can Olive Oil Asso­ci­a­tion (NAOOA) is suing the mak­ers of the Cap­a­triti brand of oil. The civil law­suit, filed on Feb­ru­ary 6, claims that The Gourmet Fac­tory falsely sells oil that is chem­i­cally extracted from left­over olive skins and pits as 100% Pure Olive Oil.”

Through its unlaw­ful, mis­lead­ing and decep­tive mis­brand­ing,” the NAOOA claims that the pub­lic is unknow­ingly con­sum­ing low qual­ity pomace oil. Olive pomace oil is high in fatty acids, must undergo sev­eral refine­ment processes to make it fit for human con­sump­tion and does not meet the legal def­i­n­i­tion of olive oil, accord­ing to the com­plaint action.

In addi­tion, the NAOOA com­plaint states that The Gourmet Fac­tory, owned by Kan­gadis Food, Inc. is engag­ing in unfair com­pe­ti­tion. Adul­ter­ated oil can be man­u­fac­tured at sub­stan­tially lower cost than authen­tic olive oil and by mis­la­bel­ing their oil as 100% Pure Olive Oil, the com­pany is able to under­cut legit­i­mate pro­duc­ers, says the NAOOA.

The com­pany engages in adul­ter­ation for eco­nomic gain,” alleged NAOOA Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent Eryn Balch.


The NAOOA first took inter­est in the Cap­a­triti brand when it observed sig­nif­i­cant price dis­crep­ancy in recent months,” said Balch. The law­suit doc­u­ments state that Capatriti’s 100% Pure Olive Oil” sells for one-third to one-half the prices authen­tic olive oil pro­duc­ers charge.

The asso­ci­a­tion hired an inde­pen­dent third-party to col­lect sam­ples for test­ing by an Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil lab in Spain. The lab results showed that the sam­ples were at best, some type of pomace and, at worst, may also con­tain seed oils,” accord­ing to the com­plaint doc­u­ment.

The doc­u­ment fur­ther claims that pass­ing off pomace oil as pure olive oil is not some­thing that can be done by acci­dent or through mere neg­li­gence” and that the Gourmet Fac­tory intends to deceive con­sumers into pur­chas­ing its adul­ter­ated edi­ble oil prod­ucts.”

The Cap­a­triti brand accounts for more than 15 per­cent of the olive oil mar­ket in New York, New Jer­sey, Con­necti­cut and other states, accord­ing to the NAOOA. The law­suit asks that the com­pany be pro­hib­ited from label­ing and sell­ing its pomace or other non-olive oils as olive oil” and seeks statu­tory dam­ages on behalf of its mem­bers.

The NAOOA is a trade asso­ci­a­tion rep­re­sent­ing olive oil mar­keters, pack­agers and importers.

Kan­gadis Foods, Inc. owner, George Igna­tiadis, was con­tacted for com­ment about the law­suit, but he said that he was not aware of it.

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