Class Action Sought Against Israeli Company for Sale of Olive Oil Unfit for Human Consumption

Woman petitions sought against Israeli olive oil company and Rami Levy; owner of the supermarket chain says he does not think the suit claiming sale of olive oil unfit for human consumption will succeed.

A woman petitioned the court to approve a class-action suit against the company Evo Israel, which she alleges sold olive oil unfit for human consumption.

She is also seeking permission to file a class action against the Rami Levy supermarket chain. Rami Levy himself, owner of the chain, says he does not think the suit will succeed.

The plaintiffs are seeking NIS 44 million in the class action filed with the Tel Aviv District Court this week. According to the suit, the company sold oil that contained olive waste and posed dangers to human health. The suit names as plaintiffs anyone who bought a bottle of Evo olive oil over the past seven years.

An attorney for Evo, Shahar Cohen, said he had not seen the suit and could not comment.

According to businessman Rami Levy, "I haven't yet seen the suit, but I don't think the court will approve the class action. Rami Levy sells various brands of olive oil, so before any oil enters the stores we ask the importer or manufacturer to present approval from a laboratory stating that it is suited for consumption and meets standards."

Requests to file class actions need court approval before the actual class action suit can proceed.

The woman who launched the court proceedings, Anat Regev Adler, says she bought a bottle of oil at Rami Levy's Ramat Gan store that was labeled "Gaya, Galilee Experience." The packaging states the oil is meant for frying, baking and cooking.

According to Rami Levy, "Six months ago, in response to an article in TheMarker, I pulled Gaya olive oil off the shelves and immediately ordered tests to make sure I was selling quality oil that meets the standards." The oil passed every test, but his company stopped working with the manufacturer in any case, he said.

According to the suit, a laboratory test conducted in Italy uncovered the oil's shortcomings. The suit states that Evo produces olive oil for distribution under its own name as well as for other brands, including those sold at Home Center and Neopharm.

"In the days after purchasing the oil, she used it for cooking and frying and noticed that it gave off an unpleasant smell atypical of olive oil," the suit says. Regev Adler bought a second bottle, kept it sealed, and sent the two bottles to a law firm to investigate the matter.

On February 7, an Israeli laboratory sent the sealed bottle to the Italian laboratory that specializes in testing olive oil; it determined that the product was not fit for human consumption, the suit states.

Yaron Kaminsky
Shiran Granot