Source: North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA)

The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), whose members represent the majority of olive oil sold in the United States, today filed a standard of identity petition (“Industry Petition”) with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Such a standard would eliminate confusion among consumers and promote fair dealing in the industry.

“Olive oil is recognized as the healthiest cooking oil by a wide majority of Americans, but less than half of households use it,” said NAOOA Executive Director Joseph R. Profaci. The Industry Petition sought to clear the confusion surrounding olive oil.

For example, 60 percent of 1,500 U.S. consumers surveyed were not sure of the meanings of “virgin” and “refined” cooking oil, despite there being significant differences in the two. Most believe that the term “extra” when applied to “virgin olive oil” is a marketing ploy rather than a significant oil grade difference.  The term “pure” is greatly deceiving.

In 40 years, the US has grown from 28,000 tons in olive oil imports to 356,000 tons. Still, nearly one in three people do not believe or are not sure that olive oil comes from olives. (It does!)