On September 2013, California Senate Bill 250 was signed into law establishing the Olive Oil Commission of California (OOCC). Since then, new standards for olive oil labeling and quality have been adopted by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) for every olive oil producer in the state with more than 5,000 gallons of seasonal production.
Yet despite such swift changes affecting the Golden State’s ever-growing olive landscape, many producers are unaware of the commission or unsure what it does and how it impacts their business.
See more: Caifornia Grade and Labeling Standards for Olive Oil
To get the word out about the OOCC and its mandate, the OOCC has introduced a website, and it is planning a symposium in January at the California Farm Bureau Federation offices in Sacramento.
“Research shows that consumers are confused about olive oil and the different kinds available,” explained Jeff Colombini, chairman of the OOCC Board. “The OOCC was created and is funded by California olive oil farmers who are striving to provide a better product for consumers and who wish to promote clear, simple and accurate labeling of California olive oil.
“Our goal is to help consumers make more informed purchase choices when it comes to the health and flavor of their olive oil. But first, we need to make sure our own industry understands what the OOCC is doing.”
One thing the OOCC is doing is testing olive oil. Producers subject to the OOCC standards must participate in mandatory sampling and testing of their products. Samples are collected by CDFA representatives and sent to a lab in Australia as part of the government program.
After the grade is determined, producers will need to adhere to California’s new labeling rules.
“Very few understand the grades and labeling standards that were established by the OOCC last year,” Colombini added, “and they need to know about the research that the commission is conducting.”