Gov. Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 250 — authored by state Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis — on Tuesday to establish a state commission to help coordinate efforts by state olive growers and oil manufacturers to strengthen the competitiveness of California’s olive oil industry.
“Establishing this commission is a vital first step toward protecting consumers and providing California’s olive oil industry a fair playing field where they can grow and thrive. That’s why this bill received bipartisan support from day one,” said Wolk, who chairs the Agriculture Subcommittee on Olive Oil Production and Emerging Products.
“I applaud the governor’s decision to sign this measure into law, and look forward to continuing to work with the state’s olive growers and olive oil producers to help ensure that Californians can be confident about the products they’re serving to their families.”
SB 250 would create the Olive Oil Commission of California within the Department of Food and Agriculture to allow the industry to conduct research and establish product grades and standards through the secretary of food and agriculture.
There are 16 active, industry-funded agricultural commissions in California created to enhance their industries competitiveness through promotion, advertising, education, marketing research, scientific research and the creation and regulation of quality standards.
SB 250 is part of Wolk’s ongoing effort to address challenges facing state’s expanding olive oil industry, including competitors selling fraudulent and low-quality olive oil. A study conducted by the UC Davis Olive Center found that 65 percent of imported extra-virgin olive oils bought off the shelves of California supermarkets failed to meet international standards for olive oil quality — concluding that many of the imported olive oils tested were falsely labeled as extra virgin grade.
“Similar commissions have been very effective in advancing research and quality standards. SB 250 is an important step for the industry,” said Dan Flynn, executive director of the UCD Olive Center.