Olive oil Australian Standard approved

Issue 32 – October 2011

Following a rigorous Standards development process involving multiple industry stakeholders – and almost 800 public comments – Standards Australia has approved a new olive oil Standard AS 5264-2011 that will bolster consumer protection. 'The new Standard will establish a benchmark for olive oil quality to ensure that consumers get the product they pay for,' says Colin Blair, Chief Executive Officer, Standards Australia.

Standards Australia developed the Standard in consultation with stakeholders including retailers, importers, consumer associations, government bodies, scientists, and olive oil producers. The public comment process attracted significant public interest due to concern about the quality and consistency of olive oil products.

'Olive oil can be found in virtually every kitchen pantry and this Standard will result in better quality products for everyday consumers,' says Blair. 'The Standard responds to legitimate community concerns and will result in a more transparent marketplace with better quality products on our shelves.'

The new Australian Standard for Olive and olive-pomace oils will:

  • clearly outline different grades of oil – whether fresh or refined
  • unambiguously define what constitutes Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • include the most current and effective testing methods for quality and authenticity
  • provide a technical basis for 'best before' claims
  • Provide labelling requirements to minimise consumer confusion
  • crackdown on misuse of the words: premium, super, pure, light/lite, and extra light/lite
  • require substantiation of words describing country/region of origin
  • require substantiation of processing methods (for example, cold pressed and first extraction)
  • accommodate the natural variations that occur in different countries, olive varieties, and regions, without compromising the ability to test and verify quality

Paul Miller, President of the Australian Olive Association, welcomed the Standard as a significant step forward for the industry. 'This voluntary Standard developed with input from the entire supply chain is a world first in many respects,' says Miller. 'The Standard is a game-changer for the entire olive oil industry from producer to consumer. The Standard promotes and protects authentic products, and puts consumers in a much stronger position when it comes to making informed choices.'

Note: As New Zealand stakeholders did not reach consensus on the draft Standard, Standards New Zealand could not adopt it as an NZS Standard. New Zealand stakeholders can, of course, apply the Australian Standard AS 5264-2011 if they wish.

To purchase this Standard (PDF or hard copy) please email enquiries@standards.co.nz or call 0800 782 632 during business hours.

 

Published in consumer and occupational safety.