Monday, 24 February 2014

Is there something fishy in our olive oil?

An article in the New York-based Epoch Times (apparently affiliated with the Falun Gong organization banned in mainland China) caught my attention this week as it confirmed a feeling I’ve had for a while about the suspiciously inexpensive olive oil on sale in all the major groceries here. The article, constructed around a trade dispute, suggests that not everything that is being marketed as “extra virgin” is as chaste as it claims.

Californian olive oil producers are eager to get a larger share of the booming market for the healthy stuff (they now have only 3 percent) are trying to get their boosters in Congress to impose stricter inspections on imports from places like Italy, Spain, Portugal, Turkey and Greece. While those locales conjure up comforting images of Mediterranean bliss, the opportunities to mislabel products or adulterate oil lesser quality or non-olive oils to sell to the growing U.S. market must be awfully tempting.

And lo and behold, who is the defender of NOT inspecting olive oil more rigorously but good old Congressman Michel “I’ll-break-you-in-half” Grimm, Republican of Staten Island, who recently gained fame for threatening a gay TV newsman on camera. How interesting that swaggering Mike Grimm [below] is the point man for importers from southern Europe wishing to avoid added attention to their marketing and labeling practices.

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