The world’s biggest fast food restaurant has reinvented itself since serving just burgers and shakes, and now has a website where customers want the truth.
LOCAL olive oil makers will launch a $300,000 national ad campaign tonight after failing in a two-year bid to have what they say are substandard imports comply with Australian standards.
Australian Olive Association CEO Lisa Armstrong said the campaign was “a last-ditch effort” as various authorities had failed to enforce the same standards on imports as applied to local olive oils.
“We had been hoping the regulators would step in and not leave a lot of this decision-making to consumers but they don’t seem to want to do that,” she said. “We need to now educate consumers ourselves.”
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But Paul Berryman from the Australian Olive Oil Association, which represents olive oil importers, hit back saying there is room for everyone, local and imported, refined and pure olive oils and the focus should be on using olive oil fit for purpose.
“What everyone should be doing is promoting the use of good olive oil and that is what we are trying to do but they (the AOA) seem very much intent on denigrating imported oil,” he said.
“We consumer in Australia 55,000 tonnes of olive oil and Australia produces (about) 15,000 tonnes of olive oil, so they can’t even meet supply, so why they are carrying on as they do I don’t understand.”
Ms Armstrong said the campaign was “not import bashing”.
“We are happy to call our product what it is and we don’t mind competing head to head with imported product as long as it is labelled correctly and the claims it makes are true,” she said.
AOA testing over two years found that, of 106 imported oils representing 40 different brands, 77 per cent failed the Australian Standard.
The EU admitted last month that olive oil is the No. 1 product most at risk of food fraud, including the substitution of Greek olive oil for Italian oil to the addition of refined or cheaper oils such as corn, hazelnut and palm oil.
Refined oils are often labelled as “Pure”, “Light” and “Extra Light” and make up about 45 per cent of Australia’s total olive oil consumption, which is almost two litres per person per year.
“In Europe they don’t make claims like pure and light and extra light because they are meaningless and they are not terms that are used. But in Australia they are allowed to happen,” said Ms Armstrong.
“These people are able to label a refined, bleached, deodorised product with terminology that intentionally confuses a consumer.”
Australians have doubled their consumption of locally produced extra virgin olive oil to 31 per cent of total consumption in the past 18 months and grocery sales of local olive oil are expected to exceed $100m by 2014.
The three-week national ad campaign, starting tonight on television and followed up in print, will be fronted by nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan.
“People assume that be buying a European oil you are going to be getting a better oil,” said Dr McMillan. “In fact that is not true at all. Europe do produce some great oils but they are keeping it for themselves and the stuff that they send over to Australia is the real substandard stuff unless you spend a lot of money in your local posh shop.”
Local chefs backing the campaign include Stephanie Alexander.
“I would like to convince as many consumers as possible that Australia extra virgin olive oil is the freshest product and that it doesn’t age,” she said.
“You don’t need to keep a bottle of olive oil for three years in the back of the cupboard because that’s the worst possible thing you can do with it.”
Source newsAustralian Olive Association ad campaign on substandard imports,