The not so good oil

ACCC issues infringement notices for falsely labelled extra virgin olive oil
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01.ACCC issues infringement notices for falsely labelled extra virgin olive oil

A South Australian company has been fined after Australian Competition and Consumer Commission tests indicated that its products labelled ‘extra virgin olive oil’ were not the premium products the claim suggested. 

The ACCC commissioned testing of seven oils labelled ‘extra virgin olive oil’ after tests by the Australian Olive Association cast doubt on their quality. Oz Olio was found to have free fatty acids above the levels allowed in Australian and international trade standards, and the producer, the Big Olive Company, paid infringement notices of $13,200. 

Testing commissioned by CHOICE in 2010 revealed that half the ‘extra virgin olive oils’ tested failed the International Olive Council’s trade standard. Most of these products were imported from Italy and Spain, reflecting concerns by the Australian Olive Association that many imported products, which are often cheaper than extra virgin olive oils produced locally, are substandard.

Since our tests, an Australian Standard on olive oil has been approved by Standards Australia with considerable stakeholder consultation. While it is voluntary, it sets out definitions and testing methods, providing a reference point for regulators and courts. 

CHOICE welcomes the ACCC’s action and we want to see more rigorous monitoring of olive oils labelled ‘extra virgin’ to ensure consumers are not misled when these claims are used on lower quality oils. 



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