93% of imported olive oils fail Australian standards

Monday, 02 December, 2013

As many as nine out of 10 imported olive oils fail Australian standards and are labelled incorrectly, the Australian Olive Association has found.

Testing conducted between September 2011 and August 2013 found that of 106 imported oils representing 40 different brands, 77% of oils tested failed the Australian Standard AS 5264-2011 and 93% of brands tested failed the standard for at least one product of their brand range.

Choice magazine reported similar figures in 2010, showing that 80% of imported oils failed extra virgin standards.

90% of Australian olive farmers have signed a strict code of practice that ensures Australian olive oil is a high-quality product, the Australian Olive Association says. Certified products carry a triangle certification symbol.

The association has launched a national campaign to educate consumers about the benefits of buying Australian olive oil. Fronted by nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan, the Buy Australian Olive Oil campaign promotes Australian Extra Virgin olive oil as a fresher, healthier and tastier olive oil.

“The message is simple. Australian Extra Virgin olive oil is the fresh, healthy juice squeezed directly from the olive fruit. It’s not refined and it hasn’t been sitting on a boat and loading dock for months before arriving on a supermarket shelf,” Dr McMillan said.

“Australian olive oil gets to you in the shortest time possible, delivering the best possible taste as well as all the healthy nutrients and antioxidants from the olive fruit.”

“We have been lobbying for two years for imported olive oils to comply with the Australian Standard and now the AOA has taken the only option available by directly educating the public with this campaign endorsed by Dr McMillan,” said Lisa Rowntree, CEO of the Australian Olive Association.

“We encourage all conscientious consumers, cooks and chefs nationwide to swap to Australian olive oils. If they haven’t already; make the pledge today.

“While the word is getting out there that Australian olive oils are fresher, tastier and healthier for you, more than two thirds of all olive oil consumed is still imported. We must all make the commitment to buy Australian, not only for the survival of the industry but to ensure all Aussies are guaranteed of getting the taste and health benefits they are paying for.”

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