Olive oil scandal hits Italy

The international olive oil industry received a severe blow when Italian police arrested 23 people and confiscated 85 farms.

by: www.saolive.co.za | 09 Dec 2008

This happened after an operation that exposed fraudulent actions in Italy's olive oil trade.

According to media reports inferior oil was passed off as extra virgin olive oil and imported oil was relabelled as Italian oil.

SA Olive chairman, Andries Rabie, expressed the industry's utter disappointment. "An unfortunate event such as this naturally causes the South African olive oil consumer to become suspicious of what is available on the shelves."

According to Rabie similar activities have previously occurred in South Africa and for this reason SA Olive, the official representative body of the South African olive industry, instituted the Member of SA Olive Commitment to Compliance Scheme (CTC) in 2005 as the first step in establishing control over the labelling procedures of local products.

Participating members of SA Olive subscribe to the CTC scheme on a voluntary and self-regulating basis and verify their commitment to the initiative by displaying the "Member of SA Olive" seal on their bottles.

Producers whose products bear this seal of authenticity confirm that the content is 100% locally produced and made in accordance with the SA Olive Code of Conduct and Practice based on international standards.

"This seal signifies the integrity of all products ascribing to the Scheme and usage thereof on products has increased by 50% just in the past year," says Rabie.

"Consumers should be able to make an informed decision when purchasing olive oil and rather choose quality and not simply opt for the cheapest product on the shelf," says Rabie.

Corrupted oils could have been subjected to chemical manipulation which spoil the unique flavours and destroy many of the health benefits of olive oil. South African olive oil is internationally highly acclaimed and fetches high prices on the international market.

However, locally these premium products have to compete with entry level imported oils with no guarantee regarding quality and even origin. Considering the fact that good quality Italian olive oil bought in bulk currently cost R104 a litre, South African products presents the consumer with extreme value for money and a secure high quality product.

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