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Olive oil importers lodge ACCC complaint over ‘misleading’ AOA claims

The industry body representing olive oil importers, the Australian Olive Oil Association (AOOA) has lodged a complaint with the ACCC, stating that a new advertising campaign from the Australian Olive Association (AOA) is promoting ‘misleading information’ on imported oil.

The campaign, which features dietician Dr Joanna McMillan states that Australian olive oil is “fresher, tastier and better for you” – a claim that the AOOA alleges is misleading and has no factual basis. The association also claims that nine out of 10 olive oils tested by the body failed to meet Australian standards.

The AOOA, which represents a significant number of olive oil importers as well as some local growers say that the advertising campaign is ‘actively promoting against’ imported olive oils and that the association is using ‘scare tactics’ to promote its agenda.

AOOA president David Valmorbida, says that the campaign is doing the industry a disservice.

"We feel that there are a number of inaccuracies in the campaign that has been launched by the AOA, which are significantly misleading to consumers and ultimately and not in the best interests of the industry," says Valmorbida.

"They have been involved in active promotion against imported olive oils for some time now. But we do take issue when incorrect information is passed on to consumers because it is not in their best interests.

"Certainly what we don't want is for consumers to turn around and think that there is something wrong with olive oil and the olive oil category and begin reverting their choice to other types of cooking oils which may be less healthy for them.”

Lisa Rowntree, CEO of the AOA said it had comprehensive evidence to support its claims.

"Of course importers are going to try to defend their position, but at the end of the day they know we are right. Embarrassingly for them, most of the oils we tested not only failed the Australian standards but also their own IOC standard," she said.

"This is such a big problem worldwide that the EU has openly admitted that olive oil is their No. 1 issue. Our Australian standard is a robust document that was approved by all the stakeholders, including the importer representatives at that time.

"In fact our Australian standards are now been evaluated and discussed by European authorities to incorporate them in their legislation to fight against the widespread adulteration issue."
 

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