Calgary shop owner welcomes olive oil crackdown from CFIA

A Calgary shop owner is pleased federal officials are looking into concerns about fake olive oil.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning a bad olive harvest in Europe could trigger an increase in oil fraud here in Canada.

So it’s launching a 12-month national investigation in April to crack down, which will see inspectors test olive oil available on store shelves across the country.

“We try to go to small grocery stores and big grocery stores, we’re trying to be as representative as possible,” said Aline Dimitri, the deputy chief food safety officer at the CFIA.

“What we’re trying to make sure is that, if you’re getting an olive oil because there’s a health issue, or there’s a preference, that you’re not inadvertently getting something that may cause you an allergy.”

Aline Dimitri, the CFIA’s deputy chief food safety officer, says olive oil producers could be tempted to cut their products with cheap oils because of a bad olive harvest. (Stephen Hoff/CBC)

Calgary is one of the cities the CFIA plans to send its inspectors.

The big concern is that products labelled as extra virgin olive oil may not be entirely pure.

“And that becomes a huge concern when you’re talking about potential allergy concerns for people if they’re cutting in some nut oils or seed oils,” said Bruce Gillis, owner of Blue Door Oil and Vinegar in Calgary.

“And then, just also from a quality standpoint, and a transparency standpoint, if an oil was cut with another oil it certainly wouldn’t test as an extra virgin olive oil, it wouldn’t taste like an extra virgin olive oil.”

If Canadian inspectors find irregular products, Dimitri said they could ask that it simply be re-labelled, or go as far as having it recalled.

“We can actually go all the way to prosecution if need be,” she said.  

Gillis says he has all of his olive oils tested to make sure they are pure. And he buys from small producers so he can trace his products.

Dimitri said a similar testing program by the CFIA two years ago turned up no cases of olive oil fraud in Canada.

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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.


Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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