False Labeling: Your Olive Oil Might Not Be ‘Extra Virgin’

(Photo: flickr/USDAgov)

(Photo: flickr/USDAgov)

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.

[via NPR]

  • Olivefarmer

    The harvest date is an indication only and may not be certified under US law.You should always ask your olive oil dealer to supply you with a labelled oil that states the polyphenol and antioxidant results. This is a far better way of telling how healthy the oil is and how long it will last. You may be paying big bucks for an oil that is of lesser quality that won’t last as long as not all olive oils are the same. Some are much healthier than others.Anything over 250, with a harvest date and certified in a reputable laboratory to be pesticide free means as a consumer you can be assured you are getting a healthy oil .The higher the rating the longer the oil will keep and the healthier it is. A good, honest olive oil producer will proudly display these details on their labels

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