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Jul 15, 2010 4:11 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Olive oil study questions 'extra virgin' claims

A University of California-Davis study shows that many of the olive oils sold in the United States are not the top-grade, extra-virgin oils that their labels proclaim.

Researchers conducted the first academic investigation of olive oil quality by sampling popular international and national brands.

American produced olive oils were far superior--69 percent of the imported oils failed international standards while just 10 percent of domestic oils flunked.

The study comes as the U.S. Department of Agriculture is preparing to adopt scientifically verifiable standards for terms such as "virgin" or "extra virgin" to clear up concerns about labeling accuracy.

The president of the North American Olive Oil Association, which represents most olive oil importers, says their own testing found problems in only about 1 percent of samples.

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