The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) released United States Standards for Grades of Olive Oil in 1948. These standards are still followed in the US and as explained earlier, this has, to some extent, caused problems for the consumers in purchasing the right kind of organic olive oil.
In normal layman language, olive oil is the oil prepared from ripe black olives, fruit of an evergreen tree which has been cultivated since over 5,000 years now. However, when it comes to defining different types of olive oil, there exist more than one set of standards.
The demand for organic olive oil has increased over the years. Australia has increased the import of organic olive oil from the Mediterranean region to meet this demand. However, in addition to the imports, Australia is also increasing its domestic supply by growing more olives and processing them.
Olive oil production, processing and packaging is one of the most important economic activity in the Mediterranean region. Italy, Spain and Greece are the three largest producers of olive oil. These three countries in addition to the US are the top four countries that deal in olive oil trade.
Olive oil is known for its peculiar taste, odor and color, so peculiar that the USDA grades olive oils according to its flavor and odor. The preference for tasty and fragrant olive oil has resulted in an increase in the demand for organic olive oil which is claimed to be far superior to refined olive oil in these aspects. The global demand for organic olive oil now surpasses its supply.