Enforcement in the U.S. Market

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Mechanisms in the U.S. market to ensure olive oil quality are voluntary and not officially enforced. In the U.S. market, USDA standards define olive oil and olive pomace oil by delineating chemical and sensory parameters for each of the grades, but provide no mechanism for enforcement and no penalties for noncompliance.

The USDA maintains a Quality Monitoring Program—a voluntary testing and quality seal program—for a variety of commodities, including olive oil.

Since 1989, NAOOA has carried out random testing of olive oil authenticity and chemical compliance with the grade level after it became a party to the IOC’s quality monitoring agreement.69 Through this program, NAOOA tests olive oil it buys in U.S. supermarkets and contacts individual manufacturers and often U.S. authorities when anomalies are found, but the organization itself has no enforcement authority.

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