Many of us want to use ‘extra virgin olive oil’ for its health benefits and taste, but  when you go to the trouble of seeking it out, and spending the extra money, there is a high chance that it is not virgin at all!

That olive oil  is likely to be a fraud. A high percentage of the olive oils are not at all what they say it is. Just because they say it is ‘Extra-virgin olive oil’ or even ‘Certified’ does not mean that it actually is. All olive oils are not created equal.

It was found that 69 percent of the imported ‘extra virgin’ olive oil sold in California supermarkets did not qualify as extra virgin. – UC Davis Olive Center

Extra Virgin Suicide slide show by Nicholas Blechman explains well what happens: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/01/24/opinion/food-chains-extra-virgin-suicide.html

In America, more than $700 million a year is spent on olive oil, but unfortunately, it is not really olive oil because of olive oil fraud. Most of the olive oils on the market are cut with cheap vegetable oils.

The results from the Consumer Report’s found that only 9 of the 23 olive oils from Italy, Spain and California tested, passed as being extra virgin olive oil even though all of them  claimed so on the label.

International standards for extra virgin olive oil are mostly unenforced. Although the term ‘extra virgin’ is generally understood to denote the highest quality of olive oil, industry representatives report that the current standards are easily met by producers and allow olive oil marketed as ‘extra virgin’ to represent a wide range of qualities.

 This lack of enforcement has resulted in a long history of fraudulent practices (adulteration and mislabelling) in the olive oil sector.” http://www.usitc.gov/publications/332/pub4419.pdf

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

  • First, the oil must come from fresh olives that were milled within 24 hours of their harvest.
  • Next, it must be extracted by mechanical means, not from heat or chemicals.
  • They must not be treated chemically in any way.
  • Extra virgin oil is, in fact, fresh olive juice.
  • Being a fruit, olives contain natural antioxidants that protect the plant during its lifetime. When the olive tree is very old it contains more of these antioxidants. This is one of the reasons that olive trees are often hundreds of years old and create antioxidant rich products.

As you read above, not all olive oil is the same, so it is important to purchase the right type of olive oil.

Extra-virgin olive oil (cold pressed) is the best.  The problem is: How do we know if it is the real thing and not fraud oil?

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6 Tips for recognising the real Extra Virgin Olive Oil

  1. Do not buy light olive oil or a blend; it isn’t virgin quality.
  2. When extra virgin olive oil that costs less than $10 a liter it may not be real.
  3. Only but oils in dark bottles, as this protects the oil from oxidation.
  4. Look for a seal from the International Olive Oil Council (IOC).
  5. Look for a harvesting date on the label.
  6. When you put a real extra-virgin olive oil in the refrigerator, it will become thick and cloudy as it cools completely. That is not a for sure test (some oils made from high-wax olive varieties will even solidify).

These olive oils failed to meet the extra virgin olive oil standards, according to this study:

  • Bertolli
  • Carapelli
  • Colavita
  • Star
  • Pompeian Eat Grown Local also reports:
  • Filippo Berio
  • Mazzola
  • Mezzetta
  • Newman’s Own
  • Safeway
  • Whole Foods

Which Olive Oils Are Good?

To be safe we have a list of brands we know to be real extra virgin olive oils.

1.  Olea Estates 100% extra virgin olive oil is from an extremely reliable source and is our top recommendation. This olive oil is grown on a single family farm in Greece and is a great tasting olive oil.

We think so highly about this that we contacted them and they did give us a code for a discount and now is invalid. I will try to contact them again to see if they can give us another discount code.

2. Bariani Olive Oil is Stone Crushed, Cold Pressed, Decanted and Unfiltered California Extra Virgin Olive Oil and they are committed to producing an authentic extra virgin olive oil which is raw. Weston Price recommends this oil.

These olive oils have met the extra-virgin standards:

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