` California Proposes Olive Oil Commission - Olive Oil Times

California Proposes Olive Oil Commission

Apr. 29, 2013
Nancy Flagg

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If a bill cur­rently work­ing its way through the leg­isla­tive process is suc­cess­ful, California could have a new State com­mis­sion to over­see its olive oil indus­try. Senate Bill 250 to cre­ate an Olive Oil Commission of California” was approved today, April 29, by a 6 – 0 vote in the State Senate Appropriations Committee.

Senator Lois Wolk, who intro­duced the bill in the Senate Agricultural Committee where it was unan­i­mously approved on April 16, com­mented that California’s olive oil indus­try has been grow­ing expo­nen­tially over the past five years. The indus­try believes it is time to sup­port a coor­di­nated effort to pro­vide for olive oil research and stan­dards to pro­mote the sus­tain­abil­ity and suc­cess of this impor­tant agri­cul­tural prod­uct.”

The bill would cre­ate a com­mis­sion to rec­om­mend olive oil grades and label­ing stan­dards to the Secretary of Food and Agriculture. The bill would also allow the com­mis­sion to fund its oper­a­tions by levy­ing an assess­ment of no more than twenty-five cents ($ 0.25) per gal­lon on olive pro­duc­ers (those who process over 5,000 gal­lons per sea­son) and han­dlers, exclud­ing retail­ers.

The California Olive Oil Council esti­mates that California grow­ers will pro­duce 2.4 mil­lion gal­lons of olive oil in 2013.

The bill is sup­ported by the California Olive Oil Council, California Olive Ranch, Bari Olive Oil Company and other olive oil pro­duc­ers. There was no oppo­si­tion to the bill.

Kyle Sawatzky, pres­i­dent of Bari Olive Oil Company, said the bill is going to be really impor­tant to us as a vehi­cle to assess our­selves, col­lect money and do research that will help sup­port stan­dards.” Sawatzky believes that the com­mis­sion would cre­ate con­sis­tency of prod­uct in the mar­ket­place” and ensure that all grow­ers fol­low the same guide­lines.

California has com­mis­sions for 16 other agri­cul­tural prod­ucts, includ­ing apples, avo­ca­dos, blue­ber­ries, straw­ber­ries and rice.

The olive oil com­mis­sion bill will next be con­sid­ered by the full Senate. If passed by the Senate, the bill will be heard by the Assembly before going to the Governor. Even if the bill is approved by the Governor, the bill would not become oper­a­tive until olive oil pro­duc­ers have voted on and approved it.

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