O Olive Oil & Vinegar has long depended on the rich land around us to sustain our dream of providing healthful, delicious food. Working side by side in the fields we have come to know the folks who tend the small family farms where our products get their start — a reflection of our commitment to knowing where our food comes from. From the heart of Sonoma, we are the link between the land and the loyal food lovers who have placed their trust in us.
Many have expressed concern about lead potentially found in European vinegars, particularly balsamic. In California, all retailers selling European balsamics are required to post notice that these contain lead. This is to comply with The California Safe Drinking Water and Toxic Enforcement Act of 1986 or Proposition 65, which requires that consumers be warned of unsafe exposure to chemicals on a state list of carcinogens and reproductive toxicants. Lead, among them, is one of the oldest known toxic metals as it can damage the central nervous system, particularly in children, and the male and female reproduction systems.
In 2004, the Environmental Law Foundation of Oakland, California filed suit claiming that certain stores and manufacturers were selling products in violation of the above Act. Specifically, it claimed that lead can contaminate wine vinegar in the manufacturing process, and that the highest concentrations are found in Modena-style balsamic vinegar. Food and eco-blogs sounded the alarm and the calls started coming in to us. We had to do something.
So, we returned to our California roots and now barrel age our own California Balsamics, all winners of the Gold trophy at the International Fancy Food Show in New York.
Our balsamics are hand-crafted, one batch at a time in California in the traditional method and under our strict supervision to certify their quality and healthful goodness. As a result, our balsamics have tested 30 times lower than even the rigorous safe standards established by California’s Proposition 65! At last, a healthy alternative to European balsamics.
The response has been heart-warming. Parents concerned with the health of their children thank us for providing this healthy alternative. Food lovers tell us these vinegars surpass the taste and quality of the ones they were used to. We are proud to provide a clear and healthful link between the land and their families.
It’s not just what we put in, but what we leave out that makes our vinegars both healthy and delicious!