” California olive oil makers represent 0.2% of world production and 3% of U.S. consumption, yet purport it will be less confusing if the new standard requires different labeling and trade terminology than what is used by the rest of the world. ”
There’s a war over your salad dressing, and the front line has been drawn in California.
The Golden State is considering first-of-its-kind grading standards for olive oil that could have far-reaching consequences for the $5.4-billion global industry.
The California Department of Food and Agriculture may soon agree to require testing and certification for purity and quality. New labeling could also be introduced that would bar common terms such as “light” and “pure” olive oil.
The proposed standards would apply only to the largest California olive growers and millers, but they drew a rebuke from the European Union and the olive oil importer community, which view the rules as a blueprint for wider trade restrictions.
“The manipulative and confrontational tactics are not serving any California industry segment,” Eryn Balch, executive vice president of the North American Olive Oil Assn., which represents importers, wrote in a letter to the California Department of Food and Agriculture.
Supporters of the proposed rules say they would level the playing field against government-subsidized European producers who don’t have to adhere to enforced quality standards.California olive oil producers seek new rules to compete with imports,