The Importance of COOC Certification

Recently, CBS News 60 Minutes aired an exposé on quality issues of Italian olive oil, adulteration, and the involvement of the Mafia. The program highlighted that 80% of the oil exported to the U.S. is fraudulent and mislabeled. Apparently, consumers have been deceived for years by Italy’s seven best-known olive oil companies for allegedly passing off inferior olive oil as extra-virgin oil. I’ve posted the link for the full story below.

Sadly, most really don’t know the true color, extraordinary aroma and fresh taste of extra virgin olive oil!  That’s why the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) stands by its very stringent Seal Certification Program and congratulates us as members on the quality and transparency which we promote within the industry.

Having said that, even though we passed on the very important Chemical Analysis, Sensory Evaluation will also affect certification as was our case. When highly-trained COOC specialists rated TosCana, they perceived a slight defect called “heated/burnt” (2.05 on a scale of 10.00.). This occurred during processing. We had a couple of issues with the new machine, one being the speed in which the paste from the malaxer was moving through the decanter; the other being an unsuitable thermal condition (a hot fall day reaching 90 degrees). These two factors may have just put us over and out of the recommended optimum temperature range of 77 – 86 degrees.

We are working with the COOC along with a friend/peer in the industry on a batch blend correction. Rest assured, the oil is not ‘bad’, just classified as “Virgin” at this point since it slightly missed the mark of EVOO – just until re-submission of a new chemical and sensory sample is passed. This is a huge learning curve but a super knowledge-growing experience. We’ll share these along with tasting tips and results in upcoming posts.

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