“North American Olive Oil Association rigorously tests imported olive oils and is fighting to establish consistent olive oil standards.”
NEPTUNE, N.J.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Like too many studies about food, a recent University of California at Davis study on olive oil is causing confusion among consumers. In the U.S. market, 99 percent of the olive oil sold is imported, and the largest olive oil trade association is fighting to set the record straight about the authenticity, quality and health benefits of imported olive oils.
“Through our ongoing, rigorous testing of olive oils by internationally recognized labs, I assure you that the imported olive oils sold by our members are labeled correctly”
“There are often rumors that products labeled as olive oil may not be 100 percent authentic,” said Bob Bauer, president of the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), a trade association representing marketers, packagers and importers of olive oil in the United States, Canada and their respective suppliers abroad.
For 20 years, the NAOOA, in conjunction with the International Olive Council (IOC), which is the recognized worldwide body that sets quality standards for the olive oil industry, has been rigorously testing oils sold in the U.S. to verify quality and authenticity. Results prove that on average, 99 percent of the olive oil sold in stores throughout the U.S. meet the internationally recognized standards.
“Through our ongoing, rigorous testing of olive oils by internationally recognized labs, I assure you that the imported olive oils sold by our members are labeled correctly,” Bauer stated. Members of NAOOA represent some of the largest national consumer, regional and private label brands.
The UC-Davis study attempts to discredit the quality of imported olive oils. For its study, a much smaller sample size of oils was tested, pulling 19 oils from California markets. The NAOOA samples hundreds of oils purchased all across the country. The study also included some testing methods not recognized by the IOC.
“We sample more than 200 olive oils a year and conduct rigorous chemical analysis through independent labs,” Bauer explained. “We’re finding that less than 10 percent of the oils tested have any problems and they, in total, typically represent less than 1 percent of the market. In fact, a condition of membership in the NAOOA is that members must meet the international standard. If our test results show they don’t, they will be removed from the association.”
“The NAOOA is and has been a champion of quality olive oil for decades,” Bauer added. “We continue to take steps to protect consumers, including encouraging regulators at the federal and state level to follow the IOC standards to guarantee consumers a modern standard in identifying and labeling olive oil.”
To further assure consumers of the quality and authenticity of imported olive oil, the NAOOA established a certified quality seal program to recognize and promote olive oils that measure up to the industry’s standards of excellence. The program exemplifies the NAOOA’s long-standing commitment to educate consumers about the benefits of olive oil and ensures the integrity of the product.
“The bottom line is that imported olive oils are authentic, high-quality products. They offer many heart-healthy benefits, they are versatile for cooking, and they are a good value,” Bauer stated. “Importers’ products represent the majority of olive oil available to consumers – 99 percent – and it’s prudent that we uphold the high standards of quality consumers expect. It’s prudent to our industry as well.”