Some disturbing news for everyone who loves olive oil are coming from the USA! According to a recent analysis, 70 percent of olive oil in the stores across the U.S. has been cut with cheaper and less healthy options like canola or sunflower oil in order to reduce the production costs.
This story is similar to 2008, when more than 400 Italian police officers participated in a major crackdown called “Operation Golden Oil”. This led to the seizure of 85 oil farms which were found to add certain amounts of chlorophyll to canola and sunflower oil and then sell it as extra virgin olive oil. Due to this police action, the Australian government has decided to extensively investigate their own olive oil market. Their study found that none of the olive oil brands offered on the Australian market actually deserved the certificate for being a pure olive oil.
Both of these scandals prompted the University of California to carry out studies on more than 120 imported brands of extra virgin oil in the USA. The results have shown that more than 70 percent of the tested brands were fake!
Here are the olive oil brands that failed the tests:
- Filippo Berio
- Whole Foods
- Antica Badia
And here are the guys that passed the tests:
- California Olive Ranch
- Bariani Olive Oil
- McEvoy Ranch Organic
- Cobram Estate
- Corto Olive
- Kirkland Organic
- Olea Estates
How can you know whether your olive oil is fake or not?
Aside from the brands listed above, there are few simple tests which can be done at home to help determine whether your olive oil is pure or not. This is the easiest test – place the bottle in a fridge for around 30 minutes and check if the oil is starting to solidify. If it does then it is a clear sign that the oil is full of monounsaturated fat, which is exactly what extra virgin olive oil contains. But, if the oil does not show any sign of solidification then it is a good indication that the oil is fake. This simple test is far from being perfect, but it is still a good indicator if you are unsure about the quality of your olive oil. Your other option is to check the oil for official government certification, such as “California Olive Oil Council Certified Extra Virgin” and “Australian Extra Virgin Certified”. If you are a fan of Italian olive oil brands, look for Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) or Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) seals.