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Baltimore-based Pompeian Inc. is the first olive oil manufacturer to attain the U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Marketing Service Quality Monitoring Product logo for its extra virgin and extra virgin organic olive oils.
“We are proud be a leader in this area and honored to be the first manufacturer to participate in USDA’s Quality Monitoring Program for olive oil,” said David Bensadoun, Pompeian CEO. “Having an objective third party like USDA verify the authenticity and quality of our products will provide consumers with the additional level of assurance that when they purchase Pompeian olive oil they know what they are getting. This is a giant step forward for the olive oil industry.”
The Quality Monitoring Program verifies the purity and quality of olive oil through rigorous USDA product testing and review of production processes. Participating companies must meet meticulous program criteria in order to fully enter the program. Upon entering the Quality Monitoring Program for olive oil, companies agree to allow the USDA to conduct unannounced visits to review and inspect quality assurance records, test product samples and verify labels on an ongoing basis.
USDA’s product verification for olive oil includes chemical testing and flavor analysis. USDA also reviews the performance of Pompeian’s production processes, quality assurance measures and record-keeping system. Under the program, USDA will continue to monitor the company, conducting unannounced plant visits to verify quality assurance measures and test the olive oils.
“USDA’s mission is to facilitate the trade and marketing of quality and wholesome agricultural products,” said Charles Parrott, acting deputy administrator for USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service, Fruit and Vegetable Program. “Consumers want assurance that the products they are buying are genuine. Products bearing the logo have passed our rigorous Quality Monitoring Program for olive oil criteria.”
Bensadoun added: “This measure is an important development for the olive oil industry. We hope other domestic and international olive oil producers join this effort. Our collective focus needs to be on the end customer, assuring them that they are getting the purest and highest-quality olive oil. The USDA verification process under the Quality Monitoring Program for olive oil can help manufacturers inform consumers about the quality of their products.”
USDA utilizes a nationwide network of trained personnel to perform thorough, objective third-party assessments as part of its verification services.
Bottles of Pompeian Extra Virgin and Extra Virgin Organic Olive Oils produced under the Quality Monitoring Program will begin carrying the logo this month.
With facilities in Baltimore and Southern California, Pompeian imports more than 40,000 metric tons of olive oil annually from the Mediterranean region and South America.