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$7 Million Settlement Reached in Olive Oil Labeling Class Action

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

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On April 3, 2018, a $7 million settlement was reached between Deoleo USA Inc., the makers of the popular Bertolli Italian food brand, and a class of plaintiffs who accused the company of misleading consumers with the packaging of Bertolli olive oil.

The suit was filed by named plaintiff, Scott Koller, in May 2014 in California federal court. In his complaint, Koller argued that Bertolli olive oil was in violation of the 1930 Tariff Act because bottles of the olive oil stated the product was imported from Italy, when in reality all of the olives used to produce the oil are grown in regions outside of Italy. The suit also states that in addition to misleading statements about the origin of the olives in the product, Bertolli also misleads customers as to the quality of the product by printing the phrase “extra virgin” on bottles. According to the suit, Bertolli olive oil is a combination of refined oil and extra virgin oil that then oxidizes, degrades and degenerates due to the clear bottles used to package the product. Koller argues that the “best by” dates on the bottles do not take the degeneration of the product into account and therefore, it should no longer be considered “extra virgin” within the time frame determined by the “best by” date.

According to the terms of the settlement class members who purchased Bertolli extra virgin olive oil will be eligible for a refund of 75 cents per bottle. Class members who purchased Bertolli Extra Light or Bertolli Classico olive oil will be eligible for a refund of $1.50 per bottle. The nationwide class is comprised of consumers who purchased Bertolli extra virgin olive or Bertolli olive oil labeled “imported from Italy” from May 23, 2010 to December 31, 2015.

The case is: Koller v. Med Foods Inc. et al., Case No.: 3:14-cv-02400, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

 


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