NAOOA Seal of Quality
The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA)* has been randomly testing olive oil for over two decades to help protect consumers. All of its members are required to meet the International Olive Council (IOC)** standards. The NAOOA created a special seal program and in order to use the seal, a member must undergo even more frequent testing, pay a fee (for testing and marketing costs) and sign a licensing agreement that dictates how it is used. Pompeian was the first brand of olive oil to carry this seal.
*The North Olive Oil Association, established in 1989, is a trade association of marketers, packagers and importers of olive oil in the United States, Canada and their respective suppliers abroad. The association strives to foster a better understanding of olive oil and its taste, versatility and health benefits.
** The IOC, a quasi-United Nations organization, is recognized worldwide as the quality- standard-setting body for the olive oil industry.
USDA Quality Monitored Seal
Why does olive oil need a quality monitoring program?
It can be confusing to consumers to understand the differences in olive oils. By working with the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and utilizing a testing protocol that adheres to the voluntary U.S grade standards for olive oil and the International Olive Council (IOC) criteria, we are helping consumers better distinguish between products and make informed decisions.
Is there a quality control problem with the production and bottling of olive oil?
The challenge is ensuring that a bottle of extra virgin olive oil really is extra virgin olive oil. There have been situations where this is not the case. There can also be instances when definitions of extra virgin olive oil differ.
How does the Quality Monitoring Program for olive oil verification benefit Pompeian?
It helps Pompeian inform consumers about the quality of the olive oil produced under the program. In addition, consumers will benefit from knowing the extra virgin olive oil they purchase has the quality and purity they expect. The Quality Monitoring Program also benefits the entire olive oil industry because it offers a new option for objective, third-party verification.
How will products produced under the program be identified?
Pompeian will include the USDA Quality Monitoring Program for olive oil seal on labels of its extra virgin and organic extra virgin olive oil bottles.
What is Pompeian’s relationship with the USDA on this initiative?
Pompeian volunteered to be the first manufacturer to participate in the Quality Monitoring Program for olive oil.
Why was Pompeian selected?
We took the initiative and volunteered. The USDA responded to our interest, evaluated our operation and found it to have the necessary capability, performance and product quality to meet the Quality Monitoring Program for olive oil requirements.
Are there costs associated with the program?
Companies participating in the Quality Monitoring Program for olive oil agree to pay AMS for this voluntary service, which allows the agency to recover its costs. This is in line with other grading, certification and verification services.
What kinds of tests were undertaken?
The USDA tests were developed based on quality guidelines in accordance with the U.S. grade standards for olive oil. These are harmonized with standards set by the International Olive Council and include both chemical testing for quality and purity and sensory (taste and smell) test panels; doing both is very important and is a requirement of the program. The USDA will continue its tests using samples it selects during ongoing, unannounced visits at our Baltimore plant.