In 1997 and 1998, olive oil was the most adulterated agricultural product in the European Union. Is it possible all the EVOO we're using is really soy oil and canola oil with industrial chlorophyll? The New Yorker takes a fascinating look at the issue.
2 thoughts on “In 1997 and 1998, olive…”
It’s not that hard to think that it takes a lot of olive oil to fill the bottles across the U.S……but it is possible to buy true artisan-crafted Italian Extra Virgin olive oil, the oils produced in small quantities at very high standards. Take a look at http://www.olio2go.com or Zingermans and you’ll find olive oils you can trust.
Interesting story, and so very true. Blend-down of EVOO is rampant, especially now that good bulk EVOO pricing is so high. I run a company that owns a national brand that uses lots of bulk EVOO. We buy perhaps 30 container loads (5,000 gallons each) per year and the majority of this comes out of Europe. We test everything, even from people we have been buying from for some time. The olive oil business is one where you cannot trust anyone, because bouk oild change hands often it is hard to see who is cutting cheap refined olive oil or seed oils into the real stuff. There is no real regulatory muscle put against this issue, which is a shame. If and when this issue becomes more well understood, it could really undermine the great strides olive oil has made here in this country as a healthy choice for consumers.
I would bet that if you were to randomly go into the market today, and test 100 products labelled as EVOO, you would find at least 20% of them have been cut with some degree of cheaper oil. In the foodservice arena, where restaurants buy EVOO for their kitchens, I would put it closer to 50%. Beyond oil blending, there is also a lot of oil that is colored by the addition of copper chlorophyll, or other coloring agents, many which are not approved by the FDA and virtually all which are not declared on the ingredient declaration, in violation of the law. Consumers like that nice pretty green olive oil color, even in the super cheap bottle of private label EVOO they buy from the grocery chain. Unfortunately, the vast majority if not all of the big brands and foodservice providers buy the EVOO they sell in the big open world market, where the olive oil sharks swim. They have to have their guard up constantly, and even the best can have stuff get by them. The best big national brands are usually very dilligent in testing so are more likely to be clean. I hate to say it, but there is a big chunk of players in the EVOO business that are very shady, well…cheaters. It is not PC to say that but anyone that has been in this business for some time knows it is a fact.
Fortunately, there ARE also many ethical, honest prividers. The best way to avoid buying a bottle of green colored seed oil as a consumer is to buy from either smaller artisan US producers that have high integrity and their own manufacturing facilities, or the best stuff from Europe, again where there are owned production facilities involved. The best costs more because in most all cases you are actually paying for the real thing.
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