The IOC is the world’s only international intergovernment organisation in the field of olive oil and table olives. It was set up in Madrid, Spain, in 1959 under the auspices of the United Nations.
The IOC international standards for olive oil quality have been in place since the early 1980’s. The standards are developed in conjunction with the Codex Alimentarius Commission and are clearly recognised around the world. Codex is the only global authority involved in setting product standards that ensure free and equitable trade and fair competition and was created in 1963 by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) to develop food standards, guidelines and related texts such as codes of practice under the Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Program.
The IOC and Codex work together to ensure that olive oil standards continue to be improved and updated. The Technical Committee of the IOC is made up of the most expert scientists from around the world, meeting every 6 months to review the standard and assess any changes that may be needed, thereby ensuring that the standard is always leading the world with the latest technology and methodologies, as well as being in touch with changing consumer demands.
The IOC/Codex standards are truly global in that they govern over 95% of the world production of olive oil. The IOC quality standards and naming conventions are recognised internationally as the true standards for olive oil. While it is long established, the IOC standard is reviewed annually and is 100 per cent up-to-date with the latest testing technology and procedures.
The IOC regularly polices adherence to the International Standard, both at production and around the world through affiliate offices and laboratories to ensure that consumers get what they expect when they buy olive oil. The IOC is very strict with the assessment of accredited olive oil testing laboratories around the world, re-testing every laboratory for re-accreditation each year, stripping laboratories who fail to pass the annual accuracy audit of their accreditation.