Italian olive oil producers accused of fraud

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Top Italian olive oil producers are under investigation for allegedly passing off lower-quality products as “extra virgin”, raising fresh concerns about allegations of consumer fraud in the industry.

Turin police are examining whether seven companies – Carapelli, Bertolli, Santa Sabina, Coricelli, Sasso, Primadonna, and Antica Badia – have been selling virgin olive oil as 100% extra virgin.

According to allegations in Italian press reports, an analysis of samples from all seven brands found that they did not meet EU labelling rules for extra virgin olive oil.

One of the companies under investigation, Coricelli, said the inquiry was based entirely on taste tests by professional tasters that could not reliably discern whether the oil met industry standards.

“The protested batch, before being sold on the market, had been carefully analysed either by the company or independently recognised laboratories and all the analysis confirmed compliance to the quality standards,” Coricelli said.

The company promised to present the prosecutor investigating the case with counter-analysis to confirm that its behaviour was “fair and correct”. The other companies under investigation did not respond to requests for comment.

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