retail news in context, analysis with attitude

USA Today this morning reports that “two university labs found that over 60% of olive oil tested labeled as 'extra virgin' was in fact cheaper, lower-quality olive oils.

“The study, released today, was conducted by the University of California, Davis Olive Oil Chemistry Laboratory and the Australian Oils Research Laboratory. They collected 14 brands of imported olive oil and five California brands in March, and shipped 62 samples to an Australian lab for analysis ... Sixty-nine percent of the imported oils and 10% of the California oils labeled as extra virgin did not meet the International Olive Council and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture taste, smell and chemical standards for extra virgin olive oil.”

As reported here on MNB several weeks ago, the US Department of Agriculture is preparing to establish new standards to make it more likely that products labeled as “100 percent extra virgin olive oil” is, in fact, 100 percent extra virgin olive oil. However, the standards will be voluntary, not mandatory.
KC's View:
The standards ought to be mandatory. No question in my mind. One hundred percent extra virgin olive oil ought to be precisely that...and companies that attempt to pass lesser oils off as something they are not should be penalized.

Now, as happened last time that I wrote about olive oil standards, MNB’s editorial and sponsorship worlds have once again come together. I am pleased to say that the extra virgin olive oil produced by California Olive Ranch - a valued MNB sponsor - passed all the tests and is exactly what they say it is.

Not that I had any doubt.

Now, it needs to be noted that California Olive Ranch was one of the companies that contributed to the funding of this study, though it had absolutely no input into the methodology or outcome. (I’d help fund a study, too, if I knew that I was being honest about my product.)

I’ll repeat what I’ve said before: This case demonstrates why transparency is so important. Consumers should know and will know that they can trust companies that are completely up front about what they make and how they make it. And they should avoid companies that are less so.