Target: Margaret Hamburg, Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Goal: Demand that the FDA regulates the labeling of olive oil
Olive oil, a staple of the Mediterranean diet, is one of the healthiest fats that exists. Because it is a monounsaturated fat, when eaten in moderation it can help protect you from heart disease. Additional advantages of consuming olive oil include boosting the immune system, increasing bone density, preventing cancer and strokes, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of diabetes. One scientific study even correlated olive oil with improved memory and cognitive function in women. Unfortunately, many food companies have been dishonest when it comes to the full ingredient list in their olive oil, purposely deceiving consumers into believing they are purchasing a healthy product. Urge the Food and Drug Administration to enforce strict regulations regarding olive oil labeling.
Having been consumed for over 5,000 years by ancient cultures, olive oil is clearly of significant nutritional value. However, one can only obtain the full spectrum of benefits from extra-virgin olive oil, which is extracted from olives using only pressure, a process known as cold pressing. This minimizes acid content and allows for antioxidants to remain intact.
There are many brands on the market today that proudly boast “Extra-Virgin Olive Oil” on the label, yet have been found to contain refined olive oil or to be diluted with cheap, unhealthy oils such as canola oil and soybean oil. Not only do these vegetable oils contain high levels of omega-6, something most Americans already consume in excess, but they are often genetically modified. Companies will also deceptively adorn the bottle with a “Made in Italy” sticker, even when this is untrue.
Independent tests at the University of California found that 69 percent of all store-bought extra-virgin olive oils in the United States are probably fake. Olive oil forgery is such a big business that one recent bust in Italy caught criminals with over $8 million worth of fake oil. It is time for the U.S. to implement regulation procedures, so you can trust that the product you’re buying really is 100 percent extra-virgin olive oil. Sign the petition below to demand that the FDA regulate the labeling of olive oil.
Dear Ms. Hamburg,
Olive oil has numerous health-promoting properties such as boosting the immune system, increasing bone density, preventing cancer, strokes, and heart disease, lowering blood pressure, and reducing the risk of diabetes. Unfortunately, Americans incorporating olive oil into their diets cannot trust that products are what they claim to be. Recent studies have illuminated the corruption behind the olive oil industry, an industry which amounts to $1.5 billion in the U.S. alone.
Independent tests at the University of California found that 69 percent of all store-bought extra-virgin olive oils in the U.S. are probably fake. Suppliers of extra-virgin olive oil are not only lying about its country of origin, but also how it was processed and what it contains. Refining the oil can degrade its health benefits, as can cutting it with cheaper oils such as soybean and canola. We ask that the FDA begin to regulate the labeling of olive oil so that American consumers can make informed choices about the products they purchase and ingest.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Heather Cowper via Flickr