Americans spend more than $700 million a year on olive oil, but most of that may be waste because of olive oil fraud.
According to Tom Mueller, the investigative author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, 70 percent of the extra virgin olive oil sold worldwide is watered down with other oils and enhancers making them far from virgin.
We’re being lied to by manufacturers who are actually selling you genetically engineered oils that are toxic to your health when you actually think you are getting an oil that is healthy and at the heart of the Mediterranean diet.
Mueller exposes the billion dollar industry, showing how EVOO is tainted across the globe. When Australian researchers went and tested Olive Oil from suppliers in 2012, every brand submitted failed the tests and zero gained a pure certification.
Authentication tests at UC Davis in 2011 tested 124 different samples and uncovered that two-thirds of common brands of extra virgin olive oil being sold in California were not virgin and many had other oils like GMO soybean oil and GMO canola oil added in.
In 2008 85 farms were confiscated and 23 people arrested for their oil fraud. Then last year, a well known spanish EVOO company was busted and the two business owners were thrown in jail for selling supposed extra virgin olive oil that was really a mix of 73% sunflower oil!
Olive Oil Standards and Certifications
According to Dr. Audri Lanford there are actually hundreds of varieties of olives but only a few main classifications for olive oil, including:
- Extra virgin, which is produced by cold pressing and does not use chemicals for refinement.
- Virgin olive oil, comes from a second pressing or riper olives but is still good quality.
- Light, pure, or blends are refined olive oil, which usually means they have been chemically processed and mixed with other low quality oils.
- Lampante, is low quality and the italian word for lamp oil and is considered unfit for human consumption. It may be derived from old, decaying olives, and has been chemically processed.
Mueller, says that Bad olives have free radicals and impurities, so consuming NON-Virgin olive oil can actually be bad for your health where consuming REAL Olive Oil has anti-inflammatory compounds, anti-oxidants and 200+ heart healthy ingredients.
How to recognize genuine extra virgin olive oil
Here are my 5 Tips for recognizing REAL Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
- Be suspicious of any extra virgin olive oil that costs less than $10 a liter.
- Look for a seal from the International Olive Oil Council (IOC).
- Look for a harvesting date on the label
- Anything labeled light, pure, or a blend isn’t virgin quality.
- Shop for oils in dark bottles. This protects the oil from oxidation.
Also, Extra virgin olive oil solidifies when it’s cold. You can put it in the refrigerator and it should become cloudy and thicken. If it’s doesn’t then it’s not pure extra virgin.
Here is a REAL extra virgin olive oil
Here is a link to a great quality brand recommend by the Weston A. Price Foundation:
Quality Olive Oil is a great healthy oil to have on hand, but it shouldn’t be used for cooking. In that case, here are some other great oil options:
Coconut Oil — Just like olive oil, coconut oil is best when it’s cold pressed and virgin. Do NOT buy refined coconut oil. Your coconut oil should smell like you’re on a beach in the Caribbean. It has a high heat threshold and is full of healthy fats.
Organic Pastured Butter / Ghee – Contains ALA and CLA which can promote weight loss. Also, contains healthy short chain fatty acids and has a higher heat threshold. Stick with Organic only when buying butter.
Red Palm Oil — Red palm oil is made from the palm fruit instead of the palm kernel, and in its unrefined state, it is high in vitamin E and beta-carotene. It’s also stable under high heat and great for cooking.
- Researchers at UC Davis find problems with purity of imported olive oil
- Deborah Bogle and Tom Mueller “Losing our Virginity” The Advertiser May 12, 2012 Pg 11-14
- Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil