California Lays Down New Requirements For Olive Oil Labels

Sure, the label says California olive oil — but how do you know something else hasn’t crept in along the way, an oil of another sort? California is trying to prevent that adulteration from happening by instituting new standards for olive oil makers in the state.

The state’s Department of Food and Agriculture adopted new quality standards for olive oil yesterday, including most of the rules proposed by the Olive Oil Commission of California, reports the Los Angeles Times.

That group of local growers and millers had pushed of new testing and labeling requirements for any products bearing the “Made in California” label.

“California agriculture has an enviable reputation for high-quality products sought by consumers here and around the world,” said Karen Ross, secretary of the state Department of Food and Agriculture. “We believe the time has come to designate a ‘California-grown’ olive oil, and these standards are an excellent way to do it.”

The new standards are only for olive oil makers producing at least 5,000 gallons per year, which is about 100 olive growers and a dozen millers in California.

The rules lay out new enforcement and require testing to look for adulteration or other defects like rancidity in the oil, because who wants to open up a fresh bottle of olive oil and smell that kind of stank? No one.

It also ditches marketing terms like “light,” which only means the oil has been refined with additives and isn’t, as the name suggests, lower in calories; and “pure,” which means a combination of virgin and refined olive oils. Instead, they’d both have to have labels including the fact that they’re refined.

The rules take effect Sept. 26.

California adopts new olive oil standards [Los Angeles Times]

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