Tuesday, February 18, 2014
WASHINGTON (AP) — Experts say Americans are pouring European oil more often because it's cheaper and viewed as more authentic than the domestic competition.
Officials with the tiny California olive industry say European olive oil filling U.S. shelves often is mislabeled and lower grade. American backers are pushing the federal government to give more scrutiny to imported varieties.
Europeans produce in bulk and now have 97 percent of the U.S. market.
The U.S. industry, with mostly high-end specialty brands, has gone from 1 percent of the national olive oil market five years ago to 3 percent today. Most of the production is in California, although there are smaller operations in Texas, Georgia and a few other states.