New standards to require California-produced olive oil be tested for purity

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The state Department of Food and Agriculture has approved standards for grading and labeling California-produced olive oil that will require makers to prove their product really is extra-virgin olive oil if the label on the bottle says so.

The standards, scheduled to take effect next Friday, were recommended by the California Olive Oil Commission, an organization recently formed by the state’s olive oil producers.

Under the new rules, most olive oil produced in California must be tested to determine if it has been mixed with any chemicals, other grades of oil or degraded.

The standards will eliminate the popular marketing term “light” to describe oil that has been refined with chemicals or additives. Also eliminated is the term “pure” to describe a mixture of virgin and refined olive oil.

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