Restaurants Sue Over Cali's "Like A Virgin" Olive Oil

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Can we trust you? Photo: Smabs Sputzer via Flickr

In a legal challenge that could make small potatoes of that tomato industry scandal, a group of California chefs and restaurant owners are suing olive oil producers and retailers for cutting what was labeled "extra-virgin" olive oil with cheaper alternative oils. Following a U.C. Davis report that one out of ten California-produced olive oil samples fell below required standards, the suit was filed in Orange County Superior Court, L.A. Times reports. The cooking professionals, including Top Chef contestant David Martin and the owner of Santa Ana's Antonello, are represented by the same firm that filed a recent class-action suit against 99 Cent stores for carrying $99.99 items. What are they seeking?

The plaintiffs may request millions in restitution for "fraudently obtained profits" and seek an injunction that would eradicate the bunk oilve oil. Among the accused are retailers such as Wal-Mart, KMart, and Target, and producers like Rachel Ray and Safeway Select, who could all benefit from recent arguments that the study was flawed. But while the flow of any fake oil should certainly stop, this really just raises a more challenging issue: Shouldn't diners be banding together to sue any Italian restaurant serving KMart and Safeway Select olive oil?

Group sues olive oil producers, retailers amid claims of mislabeling [L.A. Times]
Chefs seek payment for virgin oils' phony purity [AP/Google News]