Importers’ Group Announces New Labelling Rules

The North American Olive Oil Association will require its members to apply two-year best-by dates on labels, ensure that country of origin details are clear, and provide recommendations for storage and usage.

The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) has announced a new set of rules aimed at increasing transparency and customer confidence.

“Olive oil consumers more and more are looking for help in discerning quality,” NAOOA executive director Joseph R Profaci told Olive Oil Times. “But we realize that ensuring quality also means ensuring accuracy and clarity of the information that consumers receive on labels, whether the information has to do with the oil’s origin, the conditions under which it was grown, what is in the bottle and its expected shelf life under proper storage conditions.”

The new standards require all members of the association to apply two-year best-by dates; ensure that all country of origin details are displayed more prominently and concisely on labels; clearly label all products that are less than 100 percent olive oil; and provide recommendations for storage and usage.

Quality Seal Program members of the NAOOA will also have to show more strict documentation before they label their oils as organic. If an olive oil is labeled as organic before the NAOOA can test it, the producer must “provide copies of organic certification documents from the certifying agent authorized under the National Organic Program (NOP) or another certification body recognized by NOP.”

Association members must comply with the group’s new standards by 1 January 2019.

The changes might be considered a modest move by a group representing the world’s largest olive oil companies in the U.S., many of which have been fending off legal challenges resulting from years of shadowy labeling practices.

“Not exactly a game-changer,” Profaci admitted. “But we felt these are important steps in helping increase consumer confidence. Given that our members’ products represent about 85 percent of the branded olive oil sold in the U.S., these changes have the potential to make a real difference for consumers.”

“Although there’s significant evidence to support consumer trust in olive oil, including research by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that tested 88 products labeled extra virgin and found no confirmed adulteration in any of the samples, there’s still a lot of misinformation and even outright fake news circulating about it,” Profaci said in a press statement. More

More details available at the North American Olive Oil Association  here