Some times it seems like we can’t win for losing. Thanks to Mittie and her sister Dede for finding out of all things, about a Olive Oil Scam. I’m still reading through all the information so I’ll print what Dede has provided for you to make your own conclusions and I’ll follow up later- jughandle
Read more about olives and its oil from a past Fat Farm post – here.
Get “real” olive oil on line:
Story from Dede
|Americans spend more than $700 million a year on olive oil,
but most of that may be money down the drain because of a
big-time olive oil scam.As much as two thirds of the high quality olive oil we buy —
and maybe even more — is not what it says on the bottle.We’re being duped into paying premium prices for a poor
quality product that may contain little or no olive oil at
all.And even if it does, it likely won’t be of the quality you
think you’re paying for.A book published late last year lifted the lid on the great
olive oil scam but it’s been known for years that, knowingly
or unknowingly, the people who sell the stuff to us may be
offering a phony product.
For example, a report produced in 2010 by UC-Davis found that
Sellers of inaccurately labeled oil included one of the
In fact, of the dozens of stores whose sales were analyzed,
There are actually hundreds of varieties of olives but only a
* Extra virgin, which is literally the “juice” of freshly
* Virgin olive oil, produced the same way but comes from riper
* Blends — sometimes referred to as “light” or “pure.” That
* Poor quality oil, known as “lampante,” using the Italian
In fact, lampante often turns up in olive oil mixtures. But,
Just last year, two Spanish businessmen were jailed for
And in 2007, some 10,000 cases of labeled olive oil seized by
The popularity of olive oil is due to its supposed health
And the reason for the olive oil scam is simple — money.
Growing, nurturing and harvesting quality olives is an
This is the theme Tom Mueller picks up in his book “Extra
He says that producers are being forced out of business
“The honest people are getting terribly undercut,” he said in
The crooks and even legitimate producers have many ways to
For example, labels might imply the oil was produced in Italy
Sometimes, the real source may be declared, but buried in the
Furthermore, strict labeling requirements and quality checks
Bad or rancid olive oil does not have the antioxidant and
“Bad olives have free radicals and impurities, and then you’ve
So, is there any way you can tell if you’re the victim of an
Well, first you can download that UC-Davis report, and learn
Second, you can read the transcript of the NPR interview with
Here are 8 more tips culled from the book and other sources:
* Be suspicious of anything described as extra virgin that
* Look for the seal of the International Olive Council (IOC)
* Look for a harvesting date or description on the label,
* Educate yourself more about olives at the ICO site:
* Understand that anything labeled as “light” or “pure” olive
* Opt for California-produced oil. It’s less likely to be part
* If you’re able to smell the oil before you buy, do so. “It
* Shop for oil in dark bottles. A lot of genuine extra virgin
We don’t want to suggest that products that fail to meet the
It’s just that, on balance, you’re more likely to get a
That’s all we have for today, but we’ll be back next week with
Extra-virgin olive oil is a ubiquitous ingredient in Italian recipes, religious rituals and beauty products. But many of the bottles labeled “extra-virgin olive oil” on supermarket shelves have been adulterated and shouldn’t be classified as extra-virgin, says New Yorker contributor Tom Mueller.
Mueller’s new book, Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, chronicles how resellers have added lower-priced, lower-grade oils and artificial coloring to extra-virgin olive oil, before passing the new adulterated substance along the supply chain. (One olive oil producer told Mueller that 50 percent of the olive oil sold in the United States is, in some ways, adulterated.)
The term “extra-virgin olive oil” means the olive oil has been made from crushed olives and is not refined in any way by chemical solvents or high heat.
“The legal definition simply says it has to pass certain chemical tests, and in a sensory way it has to taste and smell vaguely of fresh olives, because it’s a fruit, and have no faults,” he tells Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross. “But many of the extra-virgin olive oils on our shelves today in America don’t clear [the legal definition].”
Extra-virgin olive oil wasn’t created until stainless steel milling techniques were introduced in the 1960s and ’70s. The technology allowed people to make much more refined olive oil.
“In the past, the technology that had been used had been used really by the Romans,” says Mueller. “You grounded the olives with stone mills [and] you crushed them with presses.”
The introduction of stainless steel milling techniques has allowed manufacturers to make more complex and flavorful extra-virgin olive oils, he says. But the process is also incredibly expensive — it costs a lot to properly store and mill extra-virgin olive oil. Mueller says that’s why some people blend extra-virgin olive oil with lower-grade, lower-priced products.
“Naturally the honest people are getting terribly undercut,” he says. “There’s a huge unfair advantage in favor of the bad stuff. At the same time, consumers are being defrauded of the health and culinary benefits of great olive oil.”
Bad or rancid olive oil loses the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of olive oil, says Mueller. “What [good olive oil] gets you from a health perspective is a cocktail of 200+ highly beneficial ingredients that explain why olive oil has been the heart of the Mediterranean diet,” he says. “Bad olives have free radicals and impurities, and then you’ve lost that wonderful cocktail … that you get from fresh fruit, from real extra-virgin olive oil.”
More On Olive Oil
Researchers found more than two-thirds of sampled extra-virgin olive oil didn’t make the grade.
French researchers found an link between liberal use of olive oil and a lower risk of stroke.
For Palestinians and Israelis, the annual olive harvest is central to the culture, economy.
On why 4 out of 10 bottles that say Italian olive oil are not actually Italian olive oil
“A lot of those oils have been packed in Italy or have been transited through Italy just long enough to get the Italian flag on them. That’s not, strictly speaking, illegal — but I find it a legal fraud, if you will.”
On extra light olive oil
“Extra light is just as caloric as any other oil — 120 calories per tablespoon, but the average person looking at it might say, ‘Oh, well, I’ve heard olive oil is a fat, so I will try extra light olive oil.’ … It’s highly, highly refined. It has almost no flavor and no color. And it is, in fact, extra-light in the technical sense of being clear.”
On which oil to use while frying or sauteing
“From a health point of view, olive oil is wonderful [for frying]. From a taste point of view, there are times when at really, really high temperatures, an extra-virgin with really bitter flavors and pungency can become a little unbalanced. And the bitterness can become overbearing. And obviously, from an economic point of view, if you’re spending a lot of money for an extra-virgin, maybe high-heat cooking in some circumstances really isn’t the best thing. But for lower heat, every extra-virgin olive oil is good — it really depends on the dish you’re putting together.”
On using olive oil as a dressing for ice cream
“Get a bottle of really, really powerful, bitter and pungent oil, and pour it over some really good ice cream. And it is like an injection of liquid sunshine. It’s quite a treat.”