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Regulations and Standards

 
Increased industry regulations have often been considered a double-edged sword. Regulations encourage product safety and standards consistency, but government oversight can sometimes be unwieldy and cumbersome - even an impediment to business growth. To date, the U.S. olive oil industry has lagged behind other processed food categories, in part because olive oil has been “below the radar”, so to speak, of widespread consumer consumption.

As domestic production explodes and extra virgin olive oil becomes a kitchen staple, regulations are proving to be particularly helpful to this nascent American industry’s success. In fact, encouraging greater regulatory control has been a long fought battle by key industry support groups and continues today. The purpose of regulations is to provide consumers with certain guarantees about the olive oil they purchase: first, that the product has been produced and packaged under food-safe conditions, and second, that product labeling accurately reflects what is in the bottle. The added advantage of these regulations is that they provide domestic producers with greater assurances that they can compete in an even playing field with imported products.

Important strides were made with the adoption of USDA Revised the Grade Standards for Olive Oil for grades of olive oil and olive-pomace oil in 2010. However, compliance with these standards is voluntary and the lack of enforcement has not reduced the issue of mislabeling and adulterated oil on grocery store shelves. Certain states, including California, have been more aggressive by passing labeling laws to support the industry.

The table of contents below shows the specific subjects we address.