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Eddie Zilli Fined $150,000 for Offences Under the Food and Drugs Act

July 24, 2009, Guelph, ON - On March 3, 2009 a conviction was registered against Eddie Zilli in the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto for offences under the Food and Drugs Act. The Honourable Justice Reinhardt ordered Mr. Zilli to pay $50,000 per count, on three counts, for a total fine of $150,000 and ordered 47,436 litres of seized oil forfeited to the Crown to be disposed.

Mr. Zilli unlawfully imported a quantity of oil labelled as extra virgin olive oil, that was in fact blended oil, containing approximately 50 per cent sunflower oil. The offences occurred between January 1, 2006 and April 30, 2006. The imported oil did not meet the prescribed standard for olive oil, set out in Food and Drugs Regulation B.09.003[S], which requires among other things, that olive oil “shall be the oil obtained from the fruit of the olive tree.” The importations were therefore contrary to Section 6(1)(a) of the Food and Drugs Act which states that no person shall import any article intended for sale that is likely to be mistaken for food, unless the article complies with any standard that has been prescribed.

Olive oil is a commodity that can easily be diluted or substituted with cheaper oil. The presence of other oils in olive oil cannot be detected by visual inspection and therefore consumers rely on the labelling. Health conscious consumers purchase extra virgin olive oil for the health benefits they believe are associated with the product.

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For more information, media may contact:

Marilyn Taylor (English)
Communications Specialist, Ontario Area, 519-837-5852

JoAnne Ford (French)
Area Communications Manager, Ontario Area, 519-826-3027