SOURCE: North American Olive Oil Association

September 17, 2013 11:38 ET

USITC Report Recognizes Growth of U.S. Industry and Underscores the NAOOA's Contributions to Olive Oil Quality in the United States

NEPTUNE, NJ--(Marketwired - Sep 17, 2013) - The North American Olive Oil Association commends the U.S. International Trade Commission for the completion of its report, Olive Oil: Conditions of Competition Between U.S. and Major Foreign Supplier Industries.

The commission's report confirms that U.S. consumption of olive oil continues to increase as more and more consumers experience the taste attributes that set olive oil apart from other cooking oils and recognize the health benefits of olive oil. While imports continue to supply the overwhelming majority of the growing U.S. demand for olive oil, a vibrant U.S. industry of both artisanal olive farms and large super-high-density farms is now supplying all segments of the market.

"The NAOOA is pleased the commission recognized its ongoing efforts to buttress U.S. enforcement of international olive oil grade definitions," said Eryn Balch, NAOOA executive vice president. "As noted by the commission, the NAOOA has long pursued the adoption by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration of a mandatory standard of identity for olive oil. While voluntary standards and some state-level standards are already in place, the commission said a mandatory national standard of identity enforced by FDA would permit more aggressive U.S. action, including injunctions and seizures, against unscrupulous participants in the olive oil market."

In addition to describing the extensive quality control and testing regimes most large olive oil producers and packers have instituted, the report also profiles the NAOOA's efforts through the International Olive Council's quality monitoring program, which has tested more than 900 samples randomly selected from U.S. retail shelves in the past five years alone.

The commission's report illustrates how each country's market is unique due to the interplay between the country's production, consumption, distribution networks and consumer knowledge. It also highlights the many common challenges of producers and marketers targeting different consumer segments not just domestically, but worldwide.

The report's calls to enforce industry standards and educate consumers are consistent with the long-standing mission of the NAOOA.

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