If you purchased Bertolli Olive Oil for your personal use, you may be part of a recent class-action lawsuit brought against the company. The company is being alleged of false advertising for stating in labeling and packaging that some of their special olive oils were “imported from Italy.” Of course, common sense dictates that any olive oil whatsoever cannot be labeled “Italian” in any way and that such an olive oil cannot be labeled as extra virgin. So, what is the lawsuit against? Advertising?
According to the news source, Newsnight, the complaint was filed in California by a California woman who claimed that her good friend had ordered an “extra virgin” bottle of Bertolli Olive Oil on a website, and that when she tried it in reality, it was not what she expected. In fact, the plaintiff further alleged that upon further tasting, she discovered that the olive oil was anything but extra virgin. To make matters worse, the website from which she had ordered the product had failed to note this information, as well as having failed to provide even the basic customer service that would let the customer know that there were a problem and request a refund. After this, according to the lawsuit, the plaintiff was stranded without a source of olive oil and, after even more searching, discovered that the original website from which she had purchased the product had changed its information, removing all mention of liability with the now-defunct claim that Bertolli Olive Oil Extra Virgin was even available.
What has caused all of this? While there was indeed a lack of olive oil information on the website, it was not because the company had neglected its customers. The problem was rather that when people order products on the Internet, they are not given information about whether or not those products actually exist. The idea that olive oils are one-hundred percent pure is also a fallacy. If it were true, then why would there be so much extra virgin olive oil sold on supermarket shelves – because the retailer simply wants to increase their inventory and make more money?
This lack of information can have serious consequences for those who are allergic to olive oils and want to use them, especially if they live in climates where the temperature can drop to dangerously low levels, such as in Arkansas. This is because although some extra virgin olive oils may be produced in Arkansas, the climate makes it difficult to harvest the olives, rendering them adulterated with water or detergents which damage their taste. It has also been found that when brands are manufactured in other countries (such as Italy), they do not bear the same standards of quality as those which are produced domestically. In addition, it is not clear how olive oil from Italy would meet the standards required for Extra Virgin Oil. If Extra Virgin Oil lawsuits did result in increased prices or quality degradation, then why would the manufacturers care?
There is also the question of importation. Italy is not an importing nation; it exports the bulk of its olive oil to the rest of the world, particularly America and the United Kingdom. In the past, Italian olive oil was often considered inferior to that of the United States and other European nations. As a result, many American consumers who bought Italian olive oil sued the companies that they believed were guilty of infringing on the rights to which they had paid. For example, they may have been angry at the company for shipping their Extra Virgin Olive Oil to Italy and not making it available to them when they purchased it.
It is not clear what the outcome of any Extra Virgin Oil lawsuit will be. Some companies are fighting back by filing suits against those who are publishing negative reviews about them, or by launching online campaigns to try to discredit those who have raised issues. It is also unclear what olive oil from Italy would do to the price of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, since the product is rarely imported into the United States. At the current time, the Extra Virgin Oil lawsuit remains a topic in lawsuits and the olive oil industry, though there is a new lawsuit that raises the same issue (though in a different venue).