The Olive Oil Commission of California (OOCC) is hosting a series of quality workshops for California olive oil industry professionals. The goal of the OOCC ‘s Quality Workshops is to discuss the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) standards for Extra Virgin Olive Oil enforced by the OOCC and to educate all sectors of the olive oil supply chain on best practices to enhance quality and extend shelf life.
Two workshops are scheduled. The first will be held September 6 at McEvoy Ranch in Petaluma from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The second is scheduled for Sunday, September 9 at the Templeton Recreation Center in Templeton from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
These workshops are free to attend and are targeted at both OOCC producer-members and brand owners as well as non-OOCC members, olive oil farmers, millers and retailers, restaurants or distributors who purchase and sell California olive oil. The workshop will cover activities in orchard management, harvest, packaging, milling, storage, transportation, and display for improving and protecting olive oil quality. The workshop will also look at the use of olive oil testing as a tool for evaluating quality and predicting shelf life.
“One of the most important objectives of the OOCC is to improve the quality of all California olive oil so that it is trusted and valued,” said Chris Zanobini, Executive Director of the OOCC. The Commission was created in 2014 and is mandatory for California olive oil producers with more than 5,000 gallons per year. “The OOCC devotes much of its research investment towards achieving this goal and the program has been demonstrated to be effective at improving the quality of OOCC member olive oil.”
Zanobini noted the UC Davis Olive Center recently conducted a study to determine how California olive oils are performing on store shelves approximately one year after harvest. The study found that overall, 37 of the 50 samples collected (74%) passed all California Department of Food and Agriculture Extra Virgin standards, while 13 samples (26%) failed at least one parameter for the CDFA extra virgin grade.
The 31 samples collected of OOCC member brands passed CDFA Extra Virgin standards at 90 percent while 88 percent of the 8 store brand samples passed as CDFA Extra Virgin. The 11 samples collected and identified as being from non-OOCC members had a far lower pass rate of 18 percent.
“The study’s findings present an opportunity to provide actionable information for producers to help improve and maintain the quality of California olive oil,” explained Zanobini. “This study also shows the importance of best practice guidelines for growing, milling, purchasing, transporting, storing and displaying olive oil to help preserve product quality for as long as possible.”
Funding for this series of workshops was recently approved by the OOCC Board as a means of sharing this kind of valuable information with the entire California olive oil industry
David Garci-Aguirre, Vice President of Operations, Corto Olive, who has been assisting with the content of the OOCC’s Quality Workshops believes that paying attention to tests and analysis of olive oil is key not only in producing good quality olive oil, but in extending shelf life. He notes that standards contained in the OOCC’s new CA Extra Virgin Olive Oil are minimums.
“An enjoyable olive oil experience is the culmination of excellence at every step of the journey,” said Aguirre. “While innovations in the field and at the mill continue to produce even fresher and more delicious oils, the real work is in what comes next, and our ability to preserve and deliver these fresh oils to our customers.”
As part of the upcoming OOCC workshops, a comprehensive review will be presented on the minimum standards contained in the CDFA Olive Oil Standard. Importantly, information will be provided on how various olive oil testing and analysis can be used as tools to improve olive oil quality. Additional resources will be provided to attendees on a variety of olive oil related topics.
Producers of all sizes are encouraged to attend. To register, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with names of attendees and selected location. You may also call (916) 441-1581. For more information and addresses of workshop locations, please click here.