The European Union alone produces roughly 78.2% of the world’s olive oil supply.
Spain produces the largest quantity of olive oil (49%), followed by Italy (29%) and Greece (19%).
Italy is the largest importer of olive oil in the world as the country not only produces its own olive oil but also buys olive oil in bulk from neighboring countries such as Greece, Spain and Turkey and sells it as “Italian.”
With 59% of the import market, Italy is the largest supplier of olive oil in the USA.
Greece is a founding member of the International Olive Council (IOC).
Approximately 80% of Greece’s olive oil is of extra virgin quality, as opposed to 45% of Italian and 30% of Spanish olive oils.
Olive oil is only the 3rd qualified health claim the FDA has recognized for conventional food since the process for establishing such claims took effect. The FDA health claim states the following: ”Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated fat in olive oil.”
The United States is now the 2nd largest consumer of olive oil (260,000 tons each year) and expected to rise annually.
The United States is not an IOC member nation and does not enforce International Olive Council (IOC) or USDA regulations for “extra virgin” quality olive oil.