New Olive Oil StandardsNew Olive Oil Standards
November 16, 2009
NEPTUNE, N.J.To prevent mislabeling and fraud, the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) recently started asking states to adopt the international standard for olive oil.
States began working closely with food safety and consumer advocacy officials to develop state-enforced standards for olive oil production and labeling. In November 2008, Connecticut became the first state in the nation to adopt the international standard for olive oil. California, Oregon and New York soon passed state standards for olive oil. Legislators in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland have expressed support in creating an olive oil standard in their states as well.
The regulations stipulate that olive oil production and labeling must comply with a set of quality standards mirroring those established by the International Olive Council. They make it unlawful to manufacture, pack, possess or sell any blended oil claiming to be an olive oil without properly identifying the ingredients. Once enacted, these laws empower consumer protection agencies to levy fines and pull misleading products from store shelves.
Extra virgin olive oil is the oil derived from the first pressing of olives, without any refining. It possesses a distinctive aroma and taste, is low in acidity and may play a role in reducing the risk of coronary heart disease. Adulterated olive oil, that which is blended with cheaper oils such as nut, soy or low-grade olive oil, and not labeled as such, robs the consumer of the health benefits and superior flavors of extra virgin olive oil. Mislabeling also may pose a health risk for people with certain food allergies. By working with states to enforce quality standards for olive oil, were helping maintain the integrity of our industry and ensure our products deliver the high quality our customers expect, says Bob Bauer, executive director of the North American Olive Oil Association.
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