The Italian Antitrust Authority has cleared Colavita Spa of an earlier charge of unfair business practices following a May 2015 report by the consumer magazine Il Test Salvagente.
Giovanni Colavita, the company’s legal representative, announced that Santa Sabina has been found to comply with the current quality standards for extra virgin olive oil.
“After 15 months, finally, the Italian Antitrust Authority has provided clarity with its Decision n. 26161, published on August 22, 2016 in its official bulletin, which confirmed that, based on the analysis carried out on Santa Sabina, it resulted that this product ‘corresponds to the category extra virgin olive oil as declared on the label’. Consequently, the Authority ruled that there was no ‘unfair business practice’.”
The decision of the Antitrust is the latest in a series of acts after the report by Il Test which in May 2015 commissioned an analysis of 20 olive oils labeled ‘extra virgin’ distributed and sold by the most popular supermarkets in Italy. Some were found to be merely virgin by the magazine due to the presence of organoleptic defects found by the panel tests.
The prosecutor of Turin consequently launched an investigation to verify the accusations.
In the meantime, Italian consumer associations complained to the Italian Antitrust Authority asking for measures towards the companies on the ground that they gave “untruthful commercial communications” presenting their products as extra virgin while belonging to the lower virgin olive oil category.
In May, the laboratory of the Central Inspectorate for the protection of quality and fraud prevention of food product (ICQRF) of the Ministry of Agriculture (Mipaaf) in Perugia, produced its report on Santa Sabina’s lot 15203, concluding that the analyzed sample “was found to comply with the declared type,” pointing out that for various reasons the previous analysis was not sufficient to base an assessment of unfair commercial practices.
As the antitrust decision reads, “the analyses carried out by Mipaaf-ICQRF are of the utmost reliability, since both the sampling operations and subsequent analysis were carried out by public bodies responsible for this type of control, which have certified each procedural step, from sampling to certification. Based on the results of the analysis, it has been certified that Santa Sabina corresponds to the category ‘extra virgin olive oil’ declared on the label.”
“We were confident about this decision which testifies our family’s commitment to quality,” Colavita told Olive Oil Times.