Olives and olive oil have a long, rich heritage that date back to the beginning of history. It is said the first sign of life seen by Noah after the deluge was the branch of an olive tree brought back by a dove. Even now the olive branch continues to be used as a symbol of life and peace.
Today, about 95% of the world’s olive oil production takes place in the Mediterranean region, although consumption continues to spread around the globe. In 1959, the United Nations supported the creation of the International Olive Council (IOC) in Madrid, Spain, to facilitate international policy and developments in the field of olives and olive oil. Since then, the IOC has been the leading global authority on standards and research in the olive oil world. That’s why you will find frequent references in these pages to IOC standards and quality definitions. The map below will give you a snapshot of where olive oil is produced and consumed today.