Australian extra virgin olive oils awarded the OliveCare ® seal will be issued with maximum 18 month best-before dates unless producers pay for extra testing.
The OliveCare® program has announced how their signatories can apply best-before dates on their labelling. In future, signatories to OliveCare® will be required to label their oils with a maximum best before date of 18 months after processing unless they can provide evidence to the contrary.
Peter McFarlane, the OliveCare® Administrator, said that the inclusion of freshness testing is a positive marketing initiative, aimed at building consumer confidence in certified Australian EVOO. He said that “… EVOO products certified under the IOC standard … are not certified as being fresh, and our market testing confirms many imported oils indeed are not fresh – often close to the end of their EVOO shelf life”. He said that “the so called rule of thumb of using a best-before date of 2 years from the date of bottling is not an acceptable method of determining the best-before date under OliveCare certification.”
There have been mixed reactions to this announcement. While some growers have praised this incentive, others have noted that signatories to the Australian Olive Association (AOA’s) code will be at a disadvantage compared to other producers who may instead market their oil using the Australian Olive Oil Association (AOOA) or International Olive Council (IOC) standards. Mr McFarlane countered the sceptics by saying that since most small producers sell out of their product each year, the use of an unsubstantiated 2 year best-before date is unnecessary. More