`Olive Oil Lawsuit Dropped in California - Olive Oil Times

Olive Oil Lawsuit Dropped in California

Apr. 13, 2011
Olive Oil Times Staff

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A class action law­suit in California against major olive oil importers and retail­ers has been with­drawn accord­ing to sev­eral sources. Attorneys for the plain­tiffs decided not to pro­ceed after they were unable to sci­en­tif­i­cally repro­duce the results of a study that was cen­tral to their com­plaint.

The study car­ried out by the University of California, Davis found that sixty-nine per­cent of imported olive oil sam­ples researchers chose from super­mar­kets in the state failed to reach chem­i­cal and taste stan­dards to be labelled extra vir­gin at the time they were ana­lyzed.

The study’s meth­ods drew fire from a group of chemists at the International Olive Council who called the tests unre­li­able, while the European olive oil pro­duc­ers whose brands were impli­cated argued that
the trans­porta­tion and stor­age con­di­tions, which need to be care­fully mon­i­tored to main­tain olive oil qual­ity over time, were out of their con­trol.

While the com­plaint in California has been pulled, sim­i­lar law­suits remain in a few other states includ­ing Florida and Washington sources say. Whether or not those will be dropped fol­low­ing California s lead is yet to be seen.

One of the olive oil importers has already spent hun­dreds of thou­sands” on the legal defense of the suits. An exec­u­tive involved in the lit­i­ga­tions said while he was hope­ful the copy­cat com­plaints would also go away, it would take months before they too are resolved.


In California the with­drawl of the law­suit marks the close of a highly-pub­li­cized, celebrity-stud­ded com­plaint in the after­math of the July, 2010 study that drew fan­tas­tic head­lines like That Olive Oil is No Virgin”.

The study was con­ducted by the University of California at Davis’ Olive Center which is sup­ported by the California Olive Oil Council, whose mem­bers stood to gain from the dis­cred­it­ing of imported olive oil. California olive oil pro­duc­ers pro­vide about one per­cent of the olive oil con­sumed in the United States, but they are devel­op­ing the capac­ity to sup­ply much more than that.

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