18 Mar

NZ: CRI denies involvement in olive oil judging scandal

By Allan Swann,

Plant & Food Research is distancing itself from a recent Olives NZ judging scandal, claiming its involvement had nothing to do the outcome that saw head judge Margaret Edwards award her own oil first place.

Plant and Food Research, formerly HortResearch, provided venues, equipment and logistics for the event, but spokesman Roger Bourne tells NBR the Crown research institute had nothing to do with the judging process.

“Plant and Food Research’s protocols were followed absolutely correctly – we had no influence on the judges’ outcome,” Mr Bourne says.

Head judge Margaret Edwards, and owner of Waiheke Olive Oil Company, has been accused by critics of a conflict of interest after she awarded her own olive oil first prize in the 2008 Olives New Zealand awards.

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