Standards Australia today announced the draft standard for olive oils is now open for public comment.
“There is justified consumer and stakeholder concern over the varying quality of olive oils in the marketplace and the prevalence of unscrupulous operators,” said Colin Blair, Chief Executive Officer, Standards Australia.
“We’re now seeking public comment on the draft standard which aims to heighten consumer protection and create a level playing field for industry,” Mr Blair said.
Standards Australia, in collaboration with the Australian Olive Association, has been working with relevant stakeholders including retailers, importers, consumer associations, government bodies and growers to develop an agreed Australian Standard.
Mr Blair said there have been a number of recent cases which demonstrated that consumers are not necessarily getting the product they thought they were getting.
It is of common practice, particularly overseas, that oils are blended and mislabelled, with many of these products ending up on Australian supermarket shelves.
“We’re particularly concerned that products are being sold at a premium labelled as Extra Virgin Olive Oil when in fact they are of a lower grade,” Mr Blair said.
“We’re committed to ensuring that Australian producers of quality olive oil receive their due credit,” Mr Blair said.
Mr Paul Miller, President of the Australian Olive Association, welcomed the draft standard as a step towards greater consumer protection and industry competition.
Public comment closes on 25 February 2011. More information is available at www.standards.org.au