AVOID OLIVE OIL FRAUD - Buy Local
A 2010 study at U.C. Davis found that almost 70% of imported olive oils failed to meet U.S. standards for "extra virginity" either because they had oxidized, were of low quality or had been adulterated with cheaper oils. 69 percent of imported olive oil samples and 10 percent of California olive oil samples labeled as extra virgin olive oil failed to meet the IOC/USDA sensory (organoleptic) standards for extra virgin olive oil.
“Extra virgin” is the top grade of olive oil according to standards established by the International Olive Council (IOC) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). In addition to establishing chemistry standards for extra virgin, the IOC/USDA have established a sensory standard — the oil must have zero defects and greater than zero fruitiness. Over the past several years, trained olive oil tasters who have served on IOC-recognized sensory panels have reported to the UC Davis Olive Center that much of the olive oil sold in the United States as “extra virgin” does not meet this modest sensory standard.
Moreover, there have been media reports of fraud in the olive oil business, where extra virgin olive oils have been adulterated with cheaper refined oils such as hazelnut oil. Another method is to adulterate extra virgin olive oil with cheaper refined olive oil, thereby making chemical detection of adulteration more difficult.
In this report, the UC Davis Olive Oil Chemistry Laboratory collaborated with the Australian Oils Research Laboratory to evaluate the quality of extra virgin olive oils sold on retail shelves in California. The two laboratories evaluated the oils based on standards and testing methods established by the IOC and USDA as well as by several newer standards and testing methods adopted in Germany and Australia. The German government and the Australian Olive Association adopted these tests to help detect the adulteration of extra virgin olive oils with refined olive oils.
The list of brands that failed may surprise you:
Whole Foods 365 100% Italian
Newman's Own Organics
But the good news is that their laboratory tests indicated that nine out of ten California samples were authentic extra virgin olive oils.
El Dorado County is home to several world-class olive oil companies, Winterhill, Windmill Creek Olive Orchard, and Mia Sorella. Come out to El Dorado County to relax, taste and enjoy.