By: Monique Bienvenue; Cal Ag Today Social Media Manager
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has approved grading and labeling standards for California olive oil, which are scheduled to take effect on September 26, 2014.
The standards were recommended by the recently-formed California Olive Oil Commission – brought into existence by olive oil producers in recognition of their fast-growing industry. The standards will set California-specific guidelines that will apply to handlers producing 5,000 gallons or more of olive oil made from olives grown in California.
“California agriculture has an enviable reputation for high-quality products sought by consumers here and around the world,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We believe the time has come to designate a ‘California-grown’ olive oil, and these standards are an excellent way to do it.”
The standards, which are based on scientific research at the UC Davis Olive Center, are unique to California production – only extra-virgin olive oil is produced here, and the standards will establish a more stringent limit for free fatty acids, a negative attribute that signals a breakdown of olive oil quality due to exposure to heat, light and oxygen.
The UC Davis Olive Center was built in 2008 and has built a strong university/industry coalition aimed at meeting the research and education needs of olive growers and processors. The Center has delivered more than $3 million in research benefits while supporting itself through product sales, fee-based laboratory analysis, research grants, and donations.
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