A class action lawsuit was filed against some of California’s largest distributors and retailers of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The Defendants include olive oil manufacturers, distributors and retailers who sell their product in the State of California and have allegedly been misleading California consumers by claiming the olive oil they sell meets the high standard of the extra virgin classification, thus entitling Defendants to charge a hefty premium for the product, when in fact the product does not meet that standard and is of inferior quality often adulterated with cheaper refined oils such as hazelnut oil or lesser olive oils.
The complaint is based on the findings of a study by the UC Davis Olive Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science at the University of California, Davis. The study found that 69% of imported olive oil and 10% of California olive oil failed to meet the IOC/USDA standards. These samples were found to be adulterated, and/or of poor quality mixed with cheaper refined oils.
The Defendants include some of the most well-known olive oil brands sold in California, including Bertolli, Filippo Berio, Carapelli, Star, Colavita, Mezzetta, Pompeian, Rachael Ray, Mazola, and Safeway Select. The Defendants also include the retailers and supermarkets who sell these products to the California consumers without testing and verifying the quality of the products sold, including Bristol Farms, Gelson’s Markets, Vons/Pavilions, Ralphs, Stater Brothers, Albertson’s Market, Target, Walmart, Kmart, and Nob Hill Foods.