Following a UC Davis report on “fake EVOO”, the International Olive Council released statements combatting the apparently biased studies conducted by Californian producers. The study claimed that “the top-selling imported brands of ‘extra virgin’ olive oil sold in the United States and purchased at retail locations throughout California often failed the IOC’s sensory standards for extra virgin olive oil”. Immediately following was a statement by the president of the California Olive Oil Council, noting that the study provided “an excellent opportunity to engage the public in a discussion about the benefits of purchasing olive oil from California producers” encouraging them to “capitalize on this moment.”
Representatives from the IOC argue that the COOC’s comments, in coordination with the Davis study, attempt to delegitimize internationally produced oils. And with the upcoming $1.7 million campaign promoting the use of olive oil in the United States and Australia, IOC Executive Director Jean-Louis Barjol postulates that the U.S. and Australia are taking advantage of the resources given to them by the IOC. “They use our laboratories every year; they attend our meetings and they come to be recognized by IOC for their competence in chemical and sensory characteristics”, he said. He continues, accusing UC Davis researchers of cooperating only when it was convenient for them to do so, and called for all producing countries to “join the ranks” of IOC members in order to “find satisfactory solutions through constructive, all-around cooperation.”
Bob Bauer, director of the North American Olive Oil Association, commented, “It’s revealing to note that the domestic olive oil industry has pushed for standards less stringent than the IOC standards that NAOOA members have adopted, because they said their olive oils can’t meet those standards. Yet they use and emphasize subjective and rejected tests to try to make people believe imported oils don’t meet those more-stringent standards.” Despite the “findings” of the study, Bauer has faith that American consumers are knowledgeable enough to discern for themselves that the tests were subjective.
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