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Published July 15, 2010, 03:45 PM

Olive oil study questions ‘extra virgin’ claims

SAN FRANCISCO — A University of California study shows that many of the olive oils sold in the United States are not the top-grade, extra-virgin oils that their labels proclaim.

SAN FRANCISCO — A University of California study shows that many of the olive oils sold in the United States are not the top-grade, extra-virgin oils that their labels proclaim.

Researchers at the school’s Davis campus conducted the first academic investigation of olive oil quality by sampling popular international and national brands.

They found that 69 percent of the imported oils and 10 percent of domestic oils failed in-ternational standards.

The study comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture is preparing to adopt scientifically verifiable standards for terms such as “virgin” or “extra virgin” to clear up concerns about labeling accuracy.

The president of the North American Olive Oil Association, which represents most olive oil importers, says their own testing found problems in only about 1 percent of samples.

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