What differentiates our olive oils from those of our competitors? They are strictly merchants buying massive quantities of finished oils and re-bottling as their own. Our supplier is the actual farmer and the miller of all the olives that go into our olive oils and all of our olive oils are certified by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC). It is the only organization that currently provides olive oil grade certification in the United States although a USDA-sanctioned certification program will follow finalization of a proposed revision to the current U.S. Standards for Grades of Olive Oil.
Why is this important? Because different organizations use different rules for classifying an olive oil as extra virgin olive oil. We can unequivocally tell you there is no gold standard that is followed by all regions that produce extra virgin olive oil. What does that mean? There’s plenty of room for manipulation and fraud within the classifications.
That is, until 2014.
In 2014, California passed the Grade and Labeling Standards for Olive Oil, Refined-Olive Oil and Olive-Pomace Oil, which are highly restrictive regarding (among other things) use of the phrase/classification extra virgin olive oil. The law includes clear tolerances with respect to chemical testing and sensory (gustatory) testing. For producers of greater than 5,000 gallons of olive oil annually, every batch must be tested by external testing agencies to ensure that they are properly classifying their olive oil grades, and the results must be submitted to the CDFA. Perhaps more importantly, the law authorizes random testing of any of these producers by the CDFA to confirm that what producers are submitting is accurate.