A bottle of olive oil being poured onto a spoon up close
California Olive Oil Might Be The Best Bet For US Shoppers. Here's Why
By Christina Garcia
Since olives must be harvested at the perfect time, olive oil production needs to move fast to avoid aging and losing its high-quality state before reaching the consumer. The closest and best oil may originate for Americans in the country's largest olive oil-producing region, California, as the state has also developed some of the most rigorous testing standards.
The Olive Oil Commission of California (OOCC) is part of the California Department of Food and Agriculture, with stricter standards than those set by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the International Olive Council. Any producer of more than 5,000 gallons of olive oil in the state must submit to mandatory yearly testing and random audits to every lot of olive oil, but any grade which does not meet OOCC standards must reflect the accurate grade on the bottle.
The California Olive Oil Commission (COOC) offers its own certification with strict quality standards including sensory taste and smell testing. At the 2022 New York International Olive Oil Competition, "Forty-one farmers and millers from the Golden State ... combined to earn a record-high 88 of the industry's most coveted quality awards, and 52 awards were won by members of the [COOC]," reported the Olive Oil Times.