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Olive Oil Standards Groups Freak Out Over Disputed Study

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The Los Angeles Times reports that the International Olive Council, a Madrid organization whose product standards are the basis for new federal olive oil regulations, and the North American Olive Oil Association, which represents most of the companies that import olive oil into the U.S., are hopping mad over a study from the UC Davis Olive Center and the Australian Oils Research Laboratory released last month that claimed over 66% of imported olive oil found in California grocery stores, labeled as extra-virgin, isn't always extra-virgin.

The IOC is firing back, saying too the report relied on too small a survey to be "statistically significant," "does not provide customary details such as the date of collection, best before date, pack type, labeling information," and that "anomalies are detected in less than 10%" of the samples it tests.

NAOOA President Bob Bauer said in a statement, "Of the olive oil sold in stores throughout the U.S. tested by the NAOOA, on average approximately 99% meets the internationally recognized and science-based IOC standards."

But, according to the LA Times, "Dan Flynn, head of the UC Davis Olive Center, said he and the researchers stand behind the report and the data outlined in a 207-page appendix. The findings were "conducted using an [International Olive Council]-accredited lab using official IOC tests. The Australian Oils Research Laboratory does excellent work," he said.

Oils tested included five California brands and 14 imports, sold at retailers including Ralphs, Safeway, Whole Foods Market and Wal-Mart.

The newspaper says the UC Davis report sent "shockwaves" though the industry.

Stay tuned for breaking developments, which will be reported on the Daily Feed as the food fight progresses.
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