Olive Oil Giant Wins Twice in Court

By Pan Demetrakakes, Senior Editor

Nov 29, 2018

One of the world’s largest producers of olive oil has won a pair of legal victories regarding the authenticity of its products.

Spain-based Deoleo, whose brands include Bertolli and Carapelli, won an injunction by a Minnesota judge against social media statements regarding the authenticity of those brands by Natural Solutions Magazine. In addition, a federal judge in Washington, D.C. dismissed a lawsuit alleging that Deoleo had misrepresented Bertolli as extra-virgin olive oil.

Both actions had their roots in a 2010 study from the University of California-Davis, which asserted that 69% of samples of extra-virgin olive oil bought in supermarkets did not meet standards for that designation. The study, which created a media sensation when it was released, has repeatedly been denounced by the olive oil industry as flawed and invalid.

Both the social media statements in Natural Solutions and the lawsuit in Washington were based on the Cal-Davis study. The judge in the Washington lawsuit noted that its factual assertions were based entirely on the study, and that it’s questionable that “tests done in 2010 on Bertolli EVOO should have any bearing on its product in 2018.”