Branch with green olives on farm in daylight, by Gary Barnes on Pexels

Olive Oil - Background

How We Started

We started studying olive oil quality and purity in 2010, in collaboration with the UC Davis Olive Center and the  California olive oil industry. The first report found 69 percent of the imported oils (14 brands) sampled, compared with 10 percent of the California-produced oils (five brands) sampled, failed to meet internationally accepted standards for extra virgin olive oil. The second report examined 134 samples of eight high-volume brands of olive oil, purchased in major supermarkets throughout California and found 73 percent (66 of 90 samples) of the five top-selling imported brands failed international sensory standards for extra virgin olive oil by failing two International Olive Council-accredited taste panels. 

Since then, we have been working on improving olive oil standards and chemical methods. Our research results were used to support the Olive Oil Commission of California (OOCC) standards which is mandatory for California olive oil producers processing more than 5,000 gallons of olive oil per year. We continue to collaborate with the OOCC to evaluate the quality and purity of California and propose changes as needed based on new data.

Dr. Selina Wang serves as the UC ANR Commodity Research Liaison to the olive oil industry and together with Dr. Louise Ferguson formed the Olive Workgroup. The Workgroup is made up of Professors of Cooperative Extension and Farm Advisors and focuses on assessing needs for research and extension for olive growers and table and oil processors.