Olive Oil Scam

30 Jan

A little while ago I read Have Your Cake & Lose Weight Too by Danelle Wolford and was amazed at the information she provided. One of the most useful things I learned from it is the Olive Oil Scam. Guess what? The olive oil you buy in your store? Chances are, it is made of oil that is not fit for human consumption. It is highly processed, deodorized and sometimes NOT EVEN OLIVE OIL AT ALL!!!

73 percent of the five best-selling imported brands failed to meet the standards of taste and smell established for that grade of olive oil set by European regulators…

…extra virgin olive oil can be cut with other seed oils, including soybean. Extra virgin can be blended with olive oils of lesser grades, on down to those “not fit for human consumption.” Such grades of oil can be rendered fit for consumption by heating , which deodorizes and removes impurities. The resulting oil is relatively flavorless and on a par with vegetable oil.

Source: Olive Oil Fraud Rampant, Trade Agency Finds (ABC News)

One of the ways you can check your oil is put it in the fridge overnight. If by morning your oil doesn’t become cloudy then, most likely, you have highly processed maybe-not-even-olive-oil on your hands. This test is not fool proof. SOME real olive oils still won’t become cloudy due to higher amount of polyunsaturated fats. On the other hand, SOME highly processed oils will become cloudy as well. Also, this test doesn’t tell you whether it is actual olive oil… But it will let you know the probability of the amount of processing  it went through – and that’s better than nothing, IMO.

How do you find the real Olive Oil? Some say that you need to check the harvest date on the back of the bottle (it needs to be within 15 months of the current date for the best quality), however, I checked EVERY SINGLE BOTTLE in my local store for harvest dates, and found NONE had them. Sad.

Next thing I found is to check quality seals, such as California Olive Oil Council. Quality USDA Monitored Seal is probably a good idea as well. My current Olive Oil did pass the fridge test, but it doesn’t have these seals. Mine has the Organic seal and the OKO GARANTIE BCS, which doesn’t exactly guarantee that it’s Olive Oil, rather that it’s organic oil. For now, that’s good enough for me. Next time I will be looking for the California Seal though.

Another check mark is to buy Olive Oil in dark bottles, since light causes rancidity.

“Light” or “diet” olive oil DOES NOT EXIST. And really, anything that says “light” or “diet” just means it’s highly processed (read “bad for you”).

It looks like Kirkland Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is recommended by many (Please note: NOT Kirkland Signature – that one’s fake). I haven’t tried it myself, but it is definitely on my list. Another one is Trader Joe’s California Estate.

I am currently shopping for a VERY nice bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. If anybody has any suggestions, I would appreciate it a lot!

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