California Amends Olive Oil Labeling Bill
The California state legislature recently made amendments to AB 535, a bill that would have prohibited any reference to “California” on olive oil bottles that did not contain 100% California-sourced olive oil. However, amendments to the bill have modified the language such that brands featuring the word “California” or other references to the Golden state on pack can still sell blended olive oil products, as long as the label declares the minimum percentage of California-sourced olive oil in the products in the same font, size, and color as the word “California.” For example, the statement could be declared as “__% California” or “__% California olive oil.”
The original version of AB 535 also prohibited labeling a container of olive oil with claims or representations that the olives were grown in a specific region of California unless 85% of the olive oil, by weight, was produced from olives grown in that specific region. However, that section was also amended to permit truthful, not misleading statements or representations regarding geographic origin if the label, packaging material, or advertising contained no representations that are prohibited. For example, a brand name like “Napa Valley Naturals” includes reference to a specific California region, but does not make representations that the olive oil is produced in that region, and thus would not be subject to the bill requirements. However, a phrase like “Napa Valley olive oil” would be required to meet the 85% requirement.
The last round of amendments were read and passed in the State Senate on July 15, and referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee for a hearing to be held on August 16.