Italian export of olive oil in the United States fell by 13%, partly due to scams that target the honest Italian olive oil producers denounced by the American press and most recently by Nicholas Blechman’s series of cartoons published on The New York Times. This is what emerges from an analysis of Coldiretti based on Istat 2013 data, which shows that almost a bottle of oil on three packed in Italy for export goes to the U.S.
Italy is the second largest producer of olive oil after Spain with around 250 million trees on 1.2 million hectares of land, but it is also the world's biggest importer. The turnover is estimated at 2 billion euros. It is therefore necessary a real commitment to ensure the authenticity and transparency of the Italian olive oil production giving full operation to the so-called “save oil law” approved in February 2013 but, even today, not yet fully enforced. The law - Coldiretti states - is a real opportunity for Italy to rebuild his credibility and to protect its olive oil market against the risk of what the New York Times called ‘the suicide of Made in Italy’.
According to the Italian Farmers Confederation (CIA), the cartoons of the New York Times, whilst complaining about a problem that producers and their organizations know and are fighting with firmness, are a pointless attack to the work and sacrifice of all the Italian farmers and to the whole Italian agriculture, thus not contributing to the fight against adulteration and fraud, but damaging an industry and creating confusion among consumers.