The lawsuit cites a recent University of California--Davis study that sampled a random selection and found that 69 percent of imported oils branded as extra virgin did not meet international standards for the label. Ten percent of California oils sampled did not meet the standards.
The "extra virgin" designation indicates that the oil was extracted without the use of heat or chemicals, is pure, satisfies a taste test and falls within chemical parameters established by the International Olive Council.
The lawsuit, filed Aug. 2 in Orange County Superior Court, seeks punitive damages and reimbursement for profits made from alleged false marketing and advertising using the extra virgin label. The suit, which seeks class action status, targets 10 major olive oil brands, including Bertolli, Filippo Berio, Carapelli, Star, Colavita, Mezzetta, Pompeian, Rachael Ray, Mazola and Safeway Select.
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