‘A solution looking for a problem …’ California olive oil row heats up as producers clash over labeling bill

Current law requires that the term “California olive oil” may only be used on products in which 100% of the oil is from olives grown in California.

AB 535, In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.However, go further by prohibiting “any reference to California orIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it. any other representation on the main display panel ‘olive oil containers that could lead consumers to believe that all the oil came from the state, including the term ‘California Olives, or something noticeably similar“unless 100% of the olives used to produce the oil were grown in California.

Cecilia Aguiar-Curry: Consumers are misledIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

According to a Press releaseIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it.Released by Assembly Member Cecilia Aguiar-Curry, Bill “protects California olive growers and manufacturers from being underestimated in the market by oils that benefit from using the name “California” to mislead consumers about what they are buying In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.[she cites concerns about blended products featuring “as little as 14% California olive oil​”]. “

She added: “Due to a loophole in the current law, a bottle of olive oil can be advertised as a “California” brand or a “California” company, but the fine print will state that the oil inside the bottle is not. it’s not entirely derived from California olives.. Our state’s name should not be used as a cynical marketing ploy to make it appear that you are buying something that you are not.

According to California olive ranchIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it.However, CEO Michael Fox, this is a blatant attempt – backed by some of his competitors – to go after his company “Global mix”In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.series of extra virgin olive oil, which falls under AB 535 because it is sold under the California Olive Ranch brand but combines extra virgin olive oils from California and other producing regions of America Latin and European (AB 535 prohibits companies from doing “any reference to California“On products containing anything other than 100% California olive oil).

As currently written, AB 535 criminalizes the sale of olive oil with truthful and accurate brand names containing geographic terms and sets a worrying precedent for the regulation of businesses with geographic names and trademarks in others. food and agricultural industries. In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.Michael Fox, CEO, California Olive RanchIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

California Olive Ranch: “Bill would basically ban the use of the word ‘California’ on a label, unless it’s 100% California olive oil” In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

Each bottle of the Three Tier Global Blend clearly states on the front of the package that a) it is a ‘Global mixIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it.,In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.And b) it contains a “A worldwide blend of oils from Argentina, Chile, Portugal and California” and as such wouldn’t be confused with the company’s staple line of 100 percent California-grown olive oil, Fox told FoodNavigator-USA.

“We started blending high quality oil from other areas following an agricultural disaster.In addition to this, you will need to know more about it. [in 2017/18] when we only produced a third of what was needed to produceIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it. [initially branded as the ‘Destination Series,’ the blends originally featured the strapline ‘Grown globally, crafted in California’ but was rebranded in early 2019 as the Global Blend’ series], but when we had our follow-up harvests, we were able to relaunch our 100% california olive oil products.In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

“This is a violation of our First Amendment commercial speech rights”In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

He added: “We have kept what we now call our ‘Global Blend’ series on the market.In addition to this, you will need to know more about it. [which now accounts for 70% of sales] because it helps us to manage fluctuations in our Californian supply and allows us to have a more accessible price for consumers.In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

“But our competitors in California saw it as, you know, something they didn’t approve of, and so they recruited a member of the assembly and led the charge on this bill to ban the use of the word “California” on a label, unless it is with 100% California olive oil.In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

The AB 535 is not only a “solution looking for a problem“, He said,”This is a violation of our First Amendment commercial speech rights and Federal Trademark Law. In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

He also rejected the argument that the Global Blend series was bad for California olive growers, given that “the average price of a liter of 100% Californian olive oil in fall 2018 was $ 16 compared to $ 20 todayIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it. [he cited IRI MULO data 12 weeks ending May 14, 2021 vs. 12 weeks ending September 2018] and California growers, with the exception of California Olive Ranch, continue to grow much faster than the category. “In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

He added: “Californian producers are doing well, prices are on the rise.In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

Michael Fox: “AB 535 sets a disturbing precedent for the regulation of companies bearing geographic names and trademarks in other food and agricultural industries …” Photo credit: California Olive Ranch

This bill is doing consumers a disservice by assuming that they cannot easily discern between a brand name and clear labeling of the country of origin. In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.Vincent Ricchiuti, Enzo Olive Oil CompanyIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

Amendments on the table

So what happens next?

While the bill has passed comfortably in the Assembly, Fox said, it has yet to be voted on in the Senate. His hope is that changes can be crafted that would allow blends and protect brands like California Olive Ranch, but provide more clarity on the labels, perhaps regarding how much extra virgin olive oil is in the industry. California contained in a mixture, for example.

We put severalIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it. [suggestions] forward and that’s what people are envisioning right now … In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

For the California olive oil industry to be successful, we don’t need AB 535, we need to attract new customers with innovative thinking like high quality blends that allow us to deliver award winning oils. to consumers at affordable prices. In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

Other stakeholders opposed to AB 535 include the California Retailers Association, The Mill at Kings River, Knaughty Farms, Corning Olive Oil Company, Enzo Olive Oil Company / PR Farms, California Olive Ranch, Imperial Olive Mill, Cal Harvest Marketing , The Olive Oil Factory, Alfa Laval, Apex, Valley Farm Transport, Wawona Frozen Foods and the Fresno Chamber of Commerce.

As it stands, the bill is unconstitutional, Milad Emam, lawyer for the Institute for Justice, told the Olive Oil TimesIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it.: “Justbecause reasonable consumers know that Kentucky Fried Chicken offers fried products outside of Kentucky, they know that olive oil with “California” in a brand sometimes consists of olives from out of state. “In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

However, Greg Traynor, co-owner of 43 Ranch,told the publication that “Trading our region and our name with a product that is not even close to the majority of our region undermines all of us who are trying to do business and promote our product as olive oil. ‘Californian extra virgin olive. “In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.

Olive-oil-GettyImages-MarianVejcik
GettyImages-Marian Vejcik

Founded in 1998, California olive ranchIn addition to this, you will need to know more about it.grows several cultivars in California, including Arbequina, a cultivar widely planted in Spain producing a sweeter, more fruity oil, and a Spanish cultivar called Arbosana, with a “complex and nutty” floral and herbaceous flavor profile. It also buys olive oil from several Californian producers as well as from Argentinian, Chilean and Portuguese producers.

According to data from IRI MULO (multi-point), retail sales of olive oil in the United States increased by 7% in the 52 weeks ending May 16, 2021, while sales in dollars at California Olive Ranch were up 22% year-over-year over the same period, the company said.

While domestic olive production (which is mostly in California) is only a small fraction of U.S. consumption, California’s acreage is steadily expanding, Fox said. “We just planted two million trees in the past year and many more growers are adding acreage.In addition to this, you will need to know more about it.


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