`Olive Oil Lawsuits Loom - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oil Lawsuits Loom

May. 28, 2013
Nancy Flagg

Recent News

Purveyors of olive oil, who label their oil as pure when it is not, should beware. Lawsuits tar­get­ing spe­cific pro­duc­ers for mis­la­bel­ing are pop­ping up and might rep­re­sent just the tip of the lit­i­ga­tion ice­berg.

In February 2013, the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) took its first civil action when it sued Kangadis Foods (doing busi­ness as The Gourmet Factory”) for unlaw­ful, mis­lead­ing and decep­tive mis­brand­ing.” The suit claimed that the company’s Capatriti brand 100% Pure Olive Oil” con­tained chem­i­cally extracted pomace oil. A Federal judge ruled that Kangadis must either recall its 100% Pure Olive Oil” or apply stick­ers to every tin noti­fy­ing cus­tomers that the prod­uct is not pure olive oil. Eryn Balch, exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent of the NAOOA indi­cated that the case is not over yet.”

In April, a class action com­plaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Kangadis. The action alleges, By mis­la­bel­ing its prod­ucts, Gourmet Factory dupes con­sumers into pur­chas­ing some­thing that is not olive oil.” The action fur­ther alleges that by label­ing and sell­ing the prod­uct as olive oil, it com­mands a sub­stan­tial price pre­mium over other pomace prod­ucts.”

On May 16, legal firm Finkelstein Thompson announced that it is inves­ti­gat­ing poten­tial claims that Kalamata brand 100% Pure Olive Oil and Botticelli brand Pure 100% Olive Oil may be decep­tively labeled.” The firm is ask­ing any­one who has pur­chased the named prod­ucts or other brands (not labeled as extra-vir­gin, vir­gin or light) to step for­ward to dis­cuss your rights and the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing your oil tested for purity at no cost to you.”

Two years ago, a class action law­suit in California against major olive oil importers and retail­ers was with­drawn when attor­neys for the plain­tiffs were unable to repro­duce the results of a UC Davis study that was cen­tral to their com­plaint.

Olive Oil Times con­trib­u­tor and legal expert Virginia Brown Keyder rec­om­mends cau­tion: While this new trend of olive oil lit­i­ga­tion bodes well for a flag­ging legal indus­try, one hopes that those in the sec­tor do not fall prey to the idea that com­pe­ti­tion should play out in the court­room. Many have dis­cov­ered to their peril how dan­ger­ous and expen­sive that can be.”


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