While imports won’t be affected by the rules, California producers still believe the standards and grades will help differentiate their product, said Kimberly Houlding, executive director of the American Olive Oil Producers Association.
“This is an opportunity for the California industry to create consumer confidence,” said Houlding.
The hope is that shoppers will choose California olive oil because they can be sure to get the quality they paid for, she said.
“Ultimately, consumers will make a choice based on taste and quality,” Houlding said.
The amount of money to be raised by the new commission has yet to be decided, but the assessment rate on producers cannot exceed 25 cents per gallon.
Specifics about the assessment and testing regime are to be decided by a board of directors that was to be elected on April 1 and 2.
Producers who make fewer than 5,000 gallons per year will not be subject to the assessment or quality standards, but they can serve on an advisory board to the commission.
The producer referendum was required by a bill in the California legislature, SB 250, that passed last year.Courtesy of the American Olive Oil Producers Association,