California has approved new quality standards for olive oil

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California has approved new quality standards for olive oil, dealing a major victory for large-scale state producers hoping to reverse years of European market dominance.

The California Department of Food and Agriculture on Thursday adopted most of the standards proposed by the Olive Oil Commission of California, a group of local growers and millers who called for new testing and labeling requirements.

“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 rules only apply to California olive oil makers who produce a minimum of 5,000 gallons a year. An estimated 100 olive growers and about a dozen millers meet that minimum.

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