Why Buy Australian Olive Oil?
November 30, 2013
 

Dr Joanna explains why those living in Australia should be buying Australian olive oil. To find out more about olive oil visit www.australianolives.com.au

Australian consumers buying imported olive oil are being duped at the checkout with up to nine out of 10 imported olive oils failing Australian standards and being labelled incorrectly. 

Testing by the Australian Olive Association between September 2011 and August 2013 found that, of 106 imported oils tested 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. This is consistent with results found by Choice Magazine in 2010 that showed 80% of imported oils tested failed Extra Virgin standards.

The Australian Standard for Olive Oil AS 5264-2011 was released in July 2011. Until 2011, Australia was one of the few countries that did not have a published standard for olive oil.

Australian farmers representing 90% of Australia's olive oil production have signed up to a strict code of practice to ensure Australian olive oil maintains its high quality for consumers. Those producers carry a triangle certification symbol on their product.

In October 2013, the European Union openly admitted that when it comes to food fraud, olive oil is the most prone product[1]. Fraud can be classified as anything from the substitution of Greek olive oil for Italian to the addition of refined olive oils or cheaper oils such as corn or palm oil into Extra Virgin olive oil.

Of all the mainstream edible oils, Extra Virgin olive oil is the only oil that has not been chemically or physically refined; it is 100% natural juice squeezed from fresh olive fruit and therefore retains all its goodness. Due to the superior health benefits and subsequent strong demand around the world, it is most prone to fraud.

Australia does not 'chemically refine' olive oil as 90%-95% of Australian olive oil is of the highest grade (Extra Virgin olive oil) due to ideal growing conditions and best-practice farming and harvesting techniques.

To ensure consumers know what they are paying for, the Australian Olive Association has launched a national campaign to educate consumers about the benefits of buying Australian Olive Oil. Fronted by well-respected nutritionist Dr Joanna McMillan, the Buy Australian Olive Oil campaign promotes Australian Extra Virgin olive oil as the fresher, healthier, tastier olive oil.

In 2013 the Australian olive oil industry celebrated a bumper crop with close to 20 million litres being produced, up 80% from last year. Sales of Australian olive oil have grown 50% over the past 12 months with overall supermarket sales of all olive oil valued at AUD$220 million.

Australian olive oils have been winning awards at domestic and international shows from Italy to Japan and the USA, with two producers recently picking up first-class honours at the New York International Olive Oil Competition, proving that Australian oils are world-class. 

[1] European Parliament, 8 October 2013 Committee on the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety


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