Rep. LaMalfa Leads Effort to Strengthen Consumer Rights, Address Olive Oil Fraud
Washington, D.C. – Rep. LaMalfa today sent a bipartisan letter, along with 19 of his colleagues, urging United States Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman to use authority included in the Farm Bill to address olive oil fraud. In a recent CBS News 60 Minutes segment, experts stated that annual imports of fraudulent olive oil coming into the US could be as high as 75 to 80 percent, nearly identical to the findings of a similar study done by UC Davis. The report cited multiple practices used to defraud olive oil purchasers, included blending small quantities of extra virgin olive oil with large quantities of either old, low quality oil, or other types of edible oils, such as sunflower oil, and labeling it “Extra Virgin” to inflate profits.
“When a customer walks into a grocery store and picks up a bottle of extra virgin olive oil off the shelf, they should be assured that they are going home with an authentic, high-quality product. Unfortunately, the reality is that the majority of the olive oil imported into the US today does not even meet voluntary USDA standards, let alone international standards. Truth in advertising should be important to everyone, no matter where you live, and labelling other substances as olive oil could have significant health impacts for those with food allergies. I was proud to lead this bipartisan effort to strengthen consumer rights and stand up for our domestic producers, especially in California, who have already taken action on the state level to assure customers that when they buy extra-virgin California oil, they are receiving exactly what they pay for.”
A copy of the signed letter that was sent to Ambassador Froman can be viewed here.
Congressman Doug LaMalfa is a lifelong farmer representing California’s First Congressional District, including Butte, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Shasta, Sierra, Siskiyou and Tehama Counties.