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North American Olive Oil Association introduces Certified Quality Seal program

NEPTUNE, N.J. (March 31, 2010)—Heart-healthy benefits and superior flavors have made olive oil a staple in many U.S. kitchens. But as with any premium product, the potential exists for imposters to pose as the authentic. Now there is an easy way for consumers to identify olive oil that delivers the quality they expect.

The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) has launched a quality-control program to recognize and promote olive oils that measure up to the industry’s standards of excellence. A voluntary and rigorous testing process is available to all NAOOA members and a seal of quality helps consumers select products that meet these high standards.

“The certified quality seal program exemplifies the NAOOA’s long-standing commitment to educate consumers about the benefits of olive oil and ensures the integrity of the product,” said Bob Bauer, NAOOA president. “It also lets products marketed by NAOOA members stand out from the competition, with good reason. These companies have taken the initiative to lead the industry by voluntarily following a standard that’s far more stringent than what’s required by the U.S. government. Since the NAOOA was formed, its members have agreed to follow this standard and their product has been subject to testing as a condition of membership. Seal program participants agree to undergo even more frequent testing.”

To use the new seal, a company must be an NAOOA member in good standing, and the type of oil bearing the seal must be tested to be sure it meets or exceeds the International Olive Council (IOC) standard for olive oil. The IOC is recognized worldwide as the quality-standard-setting body for the olive oil industry.

“There are often rumors that products labeled as olive oil may not be 100 percent authentic. The results of our ongoing testing program demonstrate that consumers can be confident about what they’re buying. The NAOOA seal will give them an added level of confidence,” said Bauer.

An annual membership fee for the program allows the NAOOA to perform rigorous quality testing of each product a minimum of twice a year. The fees also allow the association to educate consumers about the benefits of unadulterated olive oil.

Along with the quality seal, the NAOOA recently started asking states to adopt the international standard for olive oil. These regulations stipulate that olive oil production and labeling must comply with a set of quality standards mirroring those established by the IOC. They make it unlawful to manufacture, pack, possess or sell any blended oil claiming to be an olive oil without properly identifying the ingredients. The regulations will ensure consumers get what they pay for when buying olive oil. To date, California, Oregon and New York have passed state standards and legislators in Massachusetts, New Jersey and Maryland have expressed support for creating an olive oil standard in their states.

Established in 1989, the North American Olive Oil Association is a trade association of marketers, packagers and importers of olive oil in the United States, Canada and their respective suppliers abroad. The association strives to foster a better understanding of olive oil and its taste, versatility and health benefits. For more information about olive oil, the NAOOA Quality Seal Program and the NAOOA, visit http://www.naooacertified.org.

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