Olive Oil Lawsuit Dropped in California
A class action lawsuit in California against major olive oil importers and retailers has been withdrawn according to several sources. Attorneys for the plaintiffs decided not to proceed after they were unable to scientifically reproduce the results of a study that was central to their complaint.
The study carried out by the University of California, Davis found that sixty-nine percent of imported olive oil samples researchers chose from supermarkets in the state failed to reach chemical and taste standards to be labelled extra virgin at the time they were analyzed.
The study’s methods drew fire from a group of chemists at the International Olive Council who called the tests unreliable, while the European olive oil producers whose brands were implicated argued that the transportation and storage conditions, which need to be carefully monitored to maintain olive oil quality over time, were out of their control.
While the complaint in California has been pulled, similar lawsuits remain in a few other states including Florida and Washington sources say. Whether or not those will be dropped following California‘s lead is yet to be seen.
Read full article »
UC Davis Olive Center Report on Olive Oil Quality May be the Subject of Intense Scrutiny
The recent report published by the UC Davis Olive Center on the quality of imported and local olive oils on sale in California in the USA may come under intense scrutiny. Much of the scrutiny could occur during the court proceedings associated with a proposed class action brought by a collection of Californian food service individuals and enterprises against the suppliers and retailers selling the allegedly non-compliant olive oil. The integrity of the process of collecting the oils for testing, sample retention, testing procedures and reporting could be put under the microscope by the defendant’s lawyers.
The Report questions the quality of extra virgin olive oils sold at some of the world’s biggest retailers, supplied by some of the world’s largest olive oil conglomerates. Apart from the millions of dollars in compensation likely to be claimed, at stake is the reputation of well known brands and millions of dollars of wholesale and retail income. The USA imports substantially more olive oil than any country outside the European Union. It can be expected that the multi-nationals involved will defend the brands vigorously. Money to do this is unlikely to be a limitation.

Read full article »
Olive Oil 'Virginity' Questioned In California Lawsuit
A group of prominent California restauranteurs and chefs, including a contestant from Bravo's "Top Chef" reality competition, has sued olive oil distributors and retailers over a study that found many of the oils were not as pure as they were marketed.
The lawsuit cites a recent University of California, Davis, study that sampled a random selection and found that 69 percent of imported oils branded as extra-virgin did not meet international standards for the label. Ten percent of California oils sampled did not meet the standards.
The "extra-virgin" designation indicates that the oil was extracted without the use of heat or chemicals; is pure; satisfies a taste test; and falls within chemical parameters established by the International Olive Council.
The suit filed Monday in Orange County Superior Court seeks punitive damages, as well as reimbursement for profits made from alleged false marketing and advertising using the extra-virgin label. Joining in the lawsuit are former "Top Chef" contestant David Martin, several prominent Southern California restaurateurs and several home cooks.
Read full article »
Lawsuit Targets Olive Oil Brands Denounced in Davis Study
Several California chefs and restaurateurs are suing certain retailers and distributors of 10 major olive oil brands after the UC Davis Olive Center released a study last month that concluded most extra virgin olive oils sampled did not meet criteria for extra virgin classification. The plaintiffs include a contestant from the Bravo network's "Top Chef" TV show, David Martin, and several prominent Southern California restaurant owners.
Read full article »
Nothing Extra About Imported Extra-Virgin Oil
More than two-thirds of imported extra-virgin olive oil and one-in-10 made in California fail to meet international and U.S. standards, according to a report by researchers at the University of California, Davis. Extra-virgin olive oil is a top-grade product that sometimes costs twice as much as regular or extra-light olive oil. But researchers at the UC Davis Olive Center found many brands don't live up to the label.
Read full article »
Report: Tests indicate that imported "extra virgin" olive oil often fails international and USDA standards
The UC Davis Olive Oil Chemistry Laboratory collaborated with the Australian Oils Research Laboratory to evaluate the quality of extra virgin olive oils sold on retail shelves in California. The two laboratories evaluated the oils based on standards and testing methods established by the International Olive Council (IOC) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), as well as several newer standards and testing methods adopted in Germany and Australia. These latter tests were adopted to help detect the adulteration of extra virgin olive oils with refined olive oils.
Read full article »