Supermarket giant, Coles, is being praised by the Australian Olive Association for promising to ensure its own range of olive oils will meet the Australian Standard by the end of the year.
Coles has announced that all Coles Brand olive oils, whether Australian or imported, will by bully compliant with the Australian Standard for Olive Oils and Olive Pomace Oils by the end of December.
The Standard aims to protect the consumer by defining different grades of oil, including extra virgin, which at the moment are quite confusing. It also details the testing methods which can be used to ensure that products for sale are what they claim to be on the label.
Olive oil labelling at the moment can confuse consumers, with 'Light' not referring to any health characteristic of the product but rather the oils flavour and colour. There are also issues surrounding the labelling of extra virgin olive oils (widely recognised as the highest grade olive oil) with genuine extra virgin producers frustrated with cheaper, imported products marketing their product as extra virgin when in fact that's not the case.
Speaking on Coles' compliance, CEO of the Australian Olive Association, Lisa Rowntree, said "It is really great that Coles have agreed to make their own branded products comply. We hope that other brands including market leaders Moro and Always Fresh together with other supermarket home brands will quickly follow suit."
The AOA worked with industry stakeholders in the development of the voluntary standard which was finalised in 2011 and has since been actively encouraging olive oil suppliers and supermarkets to comply. Australian oils that do comply with the Australian Standards as well as the industry’s own Code of Practice carry the symbol above.