Will the Real Olive Oil Stand Up to the Test?

Does your olive oil source stand up to the test?  Are you using fake olive oil rather than quality EVOO? 

We buy our cooking and salad oils in good faith that the bottles and cans contain what the labels claim they do. However, there is substantial fraud taking place in the manufacture and sale of extra virgin olive oil. Over the past two decades, the olive oil producing industry has been rocked by several scandals and revelations of how substandard olive oil is being sold as extra virgin olive oil.  Extra virgin olive oil is cut with canola oil - imported and sold to grocery stores as EVOO. Often, oils that do not have the attributes necessary for being graded as extra virgin are sold as such. These oils are deficient in flavor and aroma.  These oils also include chemicals used to portray green olive oils like chlorophyll which can be toxic.

In fact, in March 2014, a company in the U.S had to face a class action suit for selling olive pomace extract as pure olive oil. The quality of olive oil available in the U.S has seen a sharp downward spiral over the past few years. Olive oil traders and bottlers in Spain, Portugal, and Italy are producing low-grade olive oils, which find their way to markets in the EU and North America, where they are sold as pure or extra virgin olive oil. 

A study in California, conducted in 2014, which aimed at testing whether oils sold as extra virgin actually fulfilled the criteria for being labeled so, found that nearly 70% of the oils imported into America did not meet the standards required to be marked as "extra virgin olive oil".  A study conducted by UC Davis Olive Center found that of 21 olive oils brands sampled, only one possessed attributes to clear the USDA standards of chemical analysis. These brands were being sold to restaurants.

Real olive oil has a strong herbal aroma.  Poor quality olive oil invariably fails sensory analyses. It is bland.  It cannot deliver the aroma, flavor and appearance that real olive oil can. You can recognize extra virgin olive oil by its chemical composition. Acidity in extra virgin olive oil does not exceed 0.8 grams per 100 grams. It is obtained through a purely mechanical process without the use of any solvents and at temperatures under 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Extra virgin olive oil is free from defects.

The highest quality olive oil is characterized by a fruity flavor, pleasantly bitter taste, and a pungency that can be felt in the throat.  Subscribe to Gourmet Olive Oil & Vinegar Healthy Chef Recipes