Baltimore-based Pompeian Inc. has become the first olive oil maker to have the quality of its products backed by the United States Department of Agriculture, the company announced.

The manufacturer has obtained approval for its extra virgin and extra virgin organic olive oils through the USDA's Quality Monitoring Program, which tests products to verify purity and quality.

To enter the USDA program, Pompeian agreed to unannounced visits and testing of product samples. The product verification will allow the privately owned company to start placing a USDA logo on its products this month and will give consumers additional assurances, said David Bensadoun, chief executive officer of Pompeian.

Along with its affiliates, Pompeian says it is the top importer of olive oil, bringing more than 40,000 metric tons to the U.S. each year from the Mediterranean region and South America. The company bottles its imported oil at its Baltimore production facility.

Lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com

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