The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA), a nonprofit group that promotes the health, versatility and authenticity of all types of olive oil for North American consumers, is working to ensure that all olive oils in North America are free from adulteration.
For more than 25 years, the NAOOA, which represents two-thirds of the olive oils sold in the U.S., has been collecting samples off of store shelves as well as from distributors and evaluating them against a full battery of scientific laboratory tests, as outlined in the global trade standards maintained by the International Olive Council.
The NAOOA tests for both quality and purity. Quality refers to the grade and state of the oil and may change over time. Authenticity, or purity, refers to whether the oil has been mixed with non-olive oil or lower grade olive oil. Authenticity of olive oil will not change over time. Based on approximately 200 samples per year, the NAOOA tests show that over 98% of olive oil available in North American supermarkets is authentic olive oil.
For additional consumer assurance, the NAOOA developed a Quality Seal Program to recognize and promote olive oils that meet the industry’s standards. Brands in this program are independently collected off-the-shelf, just as consumers would purchase them, at random times throughout the year and sent to IOC recognized laboratories and panels for testing. When consumers and buyers see the NAOOA Quality Seal they will know that brand participates in on-going independent testing.
“Ensuring the purity and quality of olive oil is paramount to our mission, and is especially important as many consumers use olive oil on a daily basis,” said Eryn Balch, Executive Vice President of the NAOOA. “There are several different kinds of olive oil and all authentic olive oils, including regular olive oil, contain a multitude of health benefits.”
Like wine, there is a broad range of olive oils available to support different flavor preferences, usage occasions and price points. The NAOOA is committed to providing people the information needed to understand and take advantage of all olive oil’s benefits and tips for usage and storage to best maintain quality. There are many misconceptions about olive oil care, such as keeping a pour spout on the bottle once it’s opened or saving bottles only for special occasions. Keep your olive oil in its best condition with these tips:
- Store olive oil in a cool, dark place such as a cupboard or pantry, away from excessive heat, air and light
- Purchase bottle sizes that you will use up within a few months, and use small decanters and containers for tabletop use
- Keep the cap on when not in use, and if using a pour spout make sure it has a cover to minimize air contact
For more information on storage, buying and tasting olive oil, visit the NAOOA’s YouTube channel.