When we sat down recently with an oleologist (that would be an olive oil expert) to learn how to shop for the best oils, he warned us about tricky marketing moves that companies use to misrepresent their pedigree.
This week brings further proof that the extra virgin olive oil coming from European countries may not be as legit as you’d think. NPR reports that American olive oil producers called out their foreign counterparts at Wednesday’s U.S. International Trade Commission hearing. Apparently, recent surveys of olive oil quality “suggest that two-thirds of olive oil currently sold as ‘extra virgin’ in America is mislabeled.”
Based on a tasting, Consumer Reports concluded that imported olive oils don’t taste good enough to be deemed ‘extra virgin.’ As an appellation, ‘extra virgin’ means “olive oil made from crushed olives without the use of high heat or chemical solvents.”
One way to make sure you’re getting a fresh extra virgin olive oil is too look for a harvest date, says Tom Mueller who wrote Extra-Virginity: The Sublime And Scandalous World of Olive Oil. You want to get a pressing from the most recent harvest, then use it quickly—unlike wine, olive oil does not age well.