The California Olive Oil Commission was formed under the stewardship of Senator Lois Wolk. Similar to the Almond Commission, the Olive Oil Commission was created to standardize nomenclature as well as the processing of oils from California.
Is this a good thing, at the right time or not? Fortunately everyone has their opinion and gets to express it. On July 16, 2014, the California Senate held a meeting for open public comment on the California Olive Oil Commission. Over 100 people attended to provide testimony and input on the document. Growers and producers of olive oil from California, European Union, including representatives from Italy all gathered to give their opinions about the process and the document.
The Olive Oil Commission became law on January 1, 2014 and became operational effective March 24, 2014. The Commission proposes grading and labeling standards for California. It is important to have accurate statements and definitions to help California define our unique product.
In our opinion the use of certain terms, specifically, “best by dates” and “first cold press”, are detrimental to the language in the Commission’s document. These terms confuse our consumers. Some people who sell olive oil make claims that it cures diabetes, lowers blood pressure and other medical claims, which are misleading; stuff and nonsense. We in the industry have let such ridiculous claims go unchecked too long. It is time to change. It is time to base your definitions in fact and science.
The real emphasis is that we in California want to promote a clean product: Extra virgin olive oil, certified by specific guidelines.
Just this week in Taiwan, a court settlement was levied against suppliers of adulterated oil. The IL Fiorello Olive Oil Company was interviewed by Taiwan news media last fall about this very serious problem. This is an example of both the economic and consumer fraud issue that California is trying to address with the California Olive Oil Commission.
- Senate Bill 250.
- Lois Wolk Senator California (D)
Testimony July 15, 2014
- Divergent Views on Proposed California Olive Oil Standards
Olive Oil Times
By Nancy Flagg on July 22, 2014