Olive oil sold as extra virgin. This is the offense with which the pm Raffaele Guariniello, from the public prosecutor’s office in Turin, charged the legal representatives of a dozen of companies in the agri-food sector. Seem to be under investigation the legal representatives of Carapelli, Bertolli, Santa Sabina, Coricelli, Sasso, Primadonna and ancient Badia. Investigation started after a specialized newspaper had expressed its suspicion. This is when began the tests carried out in the laboratories of the customs agencies on samples provided by the NAS police. The results shed light on numerous cases in which oil, unlike indicated, was not extra virgin, but simply “virgin”, a type of product whose acidity level is 2 or less, unlike superior-quality extra-virgin olive oil whose acidity level is 0.8 or less.
The pm Guariniello has also informed the Ministry for Agricultural Policies, explaining the work done by NAS. The samples were analyzed in the laboratories of the Customs Agency, one of the most authoritative and reliable institutions in olive oil testing. At the end of the controls, the examined brands seem to have resulted below the values established by the European Union as necessary to declare oil “extra virgin”.
“We pay close attention to the evolution of the investigation led by the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Turin, because it is essential to safeguard such a strategic sector as that of the Italian olive oil”. This is the comment of the minister of agriculture, food and forestry Policies, Maurizio Martina, the surveys carried out by the Public Prosecutor’s Office of the regional capital of Piedmont. “For months we have been reinforcing controls – the minister stressed, especially in view of the last year that was among the most complicated of the last few years as far as oil production is concerned. In 2014, our anti-fraud squad carried out more than 6 thousand controls in this sector, and sequestered goods for a total amount of 10 million euros”. “Now, it is important to clarify the situation, so as to protect consumers and thousands of honest companies – Marina concluded – involved today in the new production campaign”
According to Coldiretti, “we need to shed light on this story as soon as possible in order to defend olive oil, a strategic sector of the Made in Italy, which is world’s second largest producer of olive oil after Spain, with a turnover in the sector estimated at 2 billion euros and a use of labor for 50 million working days”. “What favors fraud – Coldiretti continues – are the record level of importation which in 2014 brought from abroad 666 million tons of olive oil and residue, which is 38 per cent more than the year before”.