Sep 112012

I was at the local “big box” store purchasing school supplies for my youngest son. While traversing the aisles I passed an angry man arguing with a sales clerk. “I want what I bought, damn it” he hollered. I feel your pain buddy, I thought.

Was this man’s sentiment reasonable? I didn’t know, yet without knowing the circumstances surrounding his complaint, I was immediately sympathetic. Why? Because this is how I feel each time I place an item in my shopping cart. I too want what I bought – damn it!

This morning I read an article from the National Journal entitled Why a Lobbying Fight Broke Out Over Olive Oil. It evoked in me that visceral acrimony most of us feel when we or those we care about are wronged. I felt cheated – again, by those same folks who are perpetually cheating us purchasers of olive oil.

Here’s the bulletized back story to the article from the National Journal.

  • Scientific evidence and sensory evaluation proved that both adulterated (fake) olive oil and low-quality olive oil are posing as extra virgin (an actual legal designation) and are currently residing on your grocery shelf.
  • This stuff, which is not what you or I paid for, is being sold around the world to unsuspecting consumers.
  • The sellers of this stuff are major companies who know what they are doing, why they are doing it, and don’t care.
  • These major companies exercise control by making up the voting and decision-making membership on most European regulatory, standards, and trade organizations.
  • They laugh at us while smoking their big cigars and sipping their grappa. You think I’m kidding? I’m not.
  • United States olive growers and extra virgin olive oil producers got mad and decided to take action against this organized mob by developing a set of voluntary standards for themselves. This set of standards is called a marketing order and it only applies to olive oil producers from the United States – no one else.
  • Who could object to a US industry’s desire to self-regulate for the benefit of consumers? The same creeps that are controlling the non-regulation, non-standards, non-enforcement in Europe, that’s who.
  • In the United States the “creeps” operate through the North American Olive Oil Association, a trade association for olive oil importers. Not all olive oil importers are bad guys, but Olive Crazy is throwing the baby out with the bath water. They know what their colleagues are up to.
  • When the US olive growers and olive oil producers decided to regulate themselves, the membership of the NAOOA launched an attack campaign and created another fakery. They set up a group called the Alliance for Olive Oil Quality Standards. A rose by any other name … Now substitute for ‘rose’ a word depicting the smelly product of digestive elimination … Yup, that’s what I mean.
  • The Alliance for Olive Oil Quality Standards spent $80,000.00 to hire a powerful, Washington DC lobbying firm to coerce, with dinners and campaign contributions, the members of the United States Congress to kill the US olive growers and olive oil producers attempt to regulate their own industry. Why?
  • They don’t want us to get what we bought.
  • Damn it!!!!!!!

If you are sick of not getting what you bought then please take the advice of this lowly olive and olive oil enthusiast/champion of consumers everywhere/champion of all producers of great olive oil, and buy your olive oil from olive oil producers in your own country. Folks that you have learned to know and trust. Here are three of my current favorites in the United States:

The Olive Press (California)

California Olive Ranch (California)

Georgia Olive Farms (Georgia). Please note, they have a small grove and are sold out, but will have more evoo available later this fall or in the early winter. It’s great and it goes fast.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Oct 092011

Every day I read lots of material about the olive, some from books and others from the internet. Each week I share with you the articles, recipes, research documents, and other information I find on the internet. Most of it is very interesting and some of it inspires me to write an article or two of my own. None of these links are in any way my opinion or are endorsed by me. I am sharing.

Olive Links of the Week

From the Macarthur Chronicle in Australia “All about olives at Silverdale farm“.

From the Farm: Recipes for Garlic” delicious garlic recipes in the Catonsville Patch.

An article from the Tehran Times entitled “Olive oil heart health benefits“.

Know what to eat, from The Olive Press – “Olive Oil Included in Harvard’s New Healthy Eating Plate“.

From the Sacramento BeeRunning to Fair Trade: A Taste of Palestine“, an ultra-marathon event.

Make your arugula salad more tasty and healthy too. From The Coronado PatchArugula: The Versatile Green“.

How to Make Your Own Moisturizer Scrub Using EVOO” from the website At Home Cure for Acne.

From The Olive PressFour Things You Should Never Do with Your Olive Oil“. These are four big no-no’s.

Congress and President mess with the US olive industry – again! From RecorderOnline.comOlive growers decry foreign subsidies“.

Here is a useful website – National Association for the Specialty Food Trade. It is full of interesting articles and data.

From it’s “Olive harvest season in Spain“.

From’s The Family Kitchen another great recipe entitled “Creamy Pumpkin Roasted Potato Salad“.

Andalusia Fines 17 Producers €2,500 for Inferior Olive Oil” from the Olive Oil Times.

From the Nashville SceneBest of Nashville 2011: Food & Beverage Writers’ Choice“.

Olive harvest” from

And now for another way to use an olive tree. From The Weekly CalistoganGratitude Trees give visitors a chance to speak their hearts“.

Settler clashes with Palestinians reach boiling point” from the Sydney Morning Herald.

From SecondAct.comMake Your Own Healthy Salad Dressing“.

Lablabi: A Soulful Bowlful” from the Wall Street Journal Food & Drink section.

From ReutersCalifornia tightens olive oil labeling rules“.

From the Los Angeles Times Travel section “Olive harvesting in Umbria, Italy, drips with tradition“.

From OnMilwaukee.comOro di Oliva brings “liquid gold” to professional and amateur chefs“.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Jul 092011

The regulation of olive oil labelling and branding for food consumption isn’t all the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is involved in.

The FDA also regulates the cosmetics industry. An update to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act, called the Safe Cosmetics Act of 2010 died with the end of the 111th Congress (2009-2010 term). BUT! Negotiations by several for-profit and non-profit groups to reintroduce the legislation, as is, and/or in an altered state, are ongoing with current Members of Congress (the 112th Congress). These groups apparently think the reintroduction of the Safe Cosmetics Act is impending.

How does this affect the olive industry? As you have seen in recent years, olive oil is more frequently used in soaps, lotions, and other cosmetics for use by adults and children. Olive oil as a non-food commodity is a growing market. How deep the market is – is another matter.

Currently, there is a FDA regulatory exemption for soap, provided the “soap” meets the FDA’s definitions. The definitions can be found in the FDA’s article entitled “Is It a Cosmetic, a Drug, or Both? (Or Is It Soap?)“. As far as exemptions go – that’s it.

It is very important for members of the olive industry to keep an eye not only on regulations pertaining to olive and olive oil as food or pharmaceuticals, but as non-foods as well.

May the sun shine through your branches.