Organic Olive Oil Producer Bellucci Premium Responds to an Article Questioning Whether Or Not Olives and Olive Oil Have Been Subject to Genetic Modification

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Organic olive oil producer Bellucci Premium responds to an article discussing olives and olive oils in regard to genetic modification.

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Organic olive oil producer Bellucci Premium responds to an article published by the Olive Oil Times that discusses whether or not olives and olive oil should be subject to genetic modification, in light of the California GMO debate.

In an article published by Olive Oil Times on January 7th titled “Are Olives Next in the GMO Fight?” explains whether or not olives and olive oil should be an issue of debate in the recent discussions over GMOs, particularly in California. Last November, voters in the state of California had to decide if companies that produce foods with GMOs should be forced to label them as genetically modified. Despite early polling numbers reflecting approval of this bill, after a well-financed opposition campaign, the bill failed with a 51 to 49 percent vote. This ballot has raised the question, “Have olives and olive oil been involved in genetic modification efforts?”

In 1982 at the University of Tuscia, researchers looked for “new strains of olive trees that could resist fungal and bacterial infections, thereby requiring fewer pesticides to remain healthy,” according to the article. This project was shut down in the summer of 2012 due to pressure from anti-GMO groups and the Italian government issued a law banning all field research on genetically engineered plants. However, no such law exists in the United States. And although many crops like tomatoes, soybeans, and corn are subject to GMOs,olives have not been an issue. Patricia Darragh, the Executive Director of the California Olive Oil Council says, “There’s no work in GMOs on olives…I don’t see the interest, and I don’t see the benefits. To our knowledge there is no GMO olive oil produced in the State of California.” However, some producers have stated their support of GMO olive and olive products in the US.

Natalie Sexenian, the marketing manager for Italian olive oil producer Bellucci Premium, says, “The issue of GMOs and olives is complicated. Genetically modifying the plant so it can withstand weather conditions is good for the producers because it gives the olives a better chance of surviving and thriving. However, is it better for the consumers? I don’t believe enough is known about the process and its effect on the human body to make a definite choice. Olive trees are pretty sturdy naturally; they can last for thousands of years.” She says, “A natural approach is always the best route to take. It is pure nature on your plate. If you’re concerned about GMOs, look for certified organic olive oil.”

Bellucci offers three different types of oil, including an organic option, with a mild peppery flavor and fruity undertones that will satisfy any palate. Bellucci Premium Toscano extra virgin olive oil uses olives that are grown on the beautiful landscapes of Tuscany, and maintained by 3rd and 4th generation farmers. The third type of oil Bellucci produces is the finest 100% Italian extra virgin olive oil, grown in many different regions of Italy.


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Scott Darrohn

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