Zoe Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I Buy This Myself, This Is Legit, Terrific Stuff.
International Olive Oil Fraud
I remember the first time I bought myself some bit of something that claimed to be Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I was living alone in a nice little apartment in a trendy area of Dallas, Texas; and I was making quite a bit of money for myself, at least by my standards I was. Well, an old friend came over…a guy who had always known a hell of a lot about food and nutrition. I was learning to cook myself then, and I think I was cooking when the guy knocked on my door.
You know how it goes, pleasantries such as “how ya doin’? Glad you stopped by! You’re just in time for dinner! ” were exchanged, and the guy picks up my “EVOO” and drops a drop of it on a finger, smells it, licks it, and says,
“Dude, this ain’t olive oil.”
I was almost offended…I was still somewhat ignorant of how corrupted America’s food supplies were. But oh, was I ever learning. You can imagine me making an angry face and challenging the friend with,
“How do you know that isn’t Extra Virgin Olive Oil? It says it is Extra Virgin Olive Oil right there on the bottle!”
Yep, you can smell the naivete in that. Lets just face the facts, shall we? We live in a world where folks will call a thing one thing knowing perfectly well it is not the thing they’re calling it. They do this to either push an agenda, or to sell a product.
As for my friend, he knew what he was talking about, he’d only recently returned to the US after spending two years in Italy.
In 2008 Italian police arrested SIXTY people , and closed over NINETY farms due to olive oil fraud. The criminal individuals were selling something that was soy bean and sunflower seed oils mixed, calling them “Extra Virgin Olive Oil.” The stuff had been sold all over Europe and the USA as something it absolutely was not. Was the product harmful? Well no, not really – but it was still outright fraud.
In 2012 Spain arrested and imprisoned two men in Cordoba for selling hundreds of thousands of liters of something that was only twenty to thirty percent olive oil…the rest was sunflower oil. Of course they were calling the stuff “Extra Virgin Olive Oil.”
It’s very good the Europeans are taking fraud like this seriously. If only American markets were so well ensured of integrity….or, perhaps Europeans are only making a showing of it all, perhaps they just cracked down on the least well connected international olive oil fraudsters? A study at the University of California showed that as much as SIXTY NINE PERCENT of the imported European olive oil on the US market was in some way or another something other than the Extra Virgin Olive Oil it claimed to be.
All of this is old news though, and if you’re like me, you heard about it already, and I’ve only just provided a bit of summary. So what are we going to do about it? Well, we’re going to look into ways to ensure your Extra Virgin Olive Oil is what it is supposed to be. I want to get what I pay for, and I want you to get what you pay for as well. Here is a list of purchasing tips or things to consider when buying Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
1. I don’t want to bring you down, make you sad, anything like that; but you have to know that if you spend two bucks on something at the grocery store and it calls itself on the label “Extra Virgin Olive Oil,” it probably isn’t.
2. If what you are buying comes in a plastic container, don’t even bother thinking for a moment that it is real EVOO, regardless of what it says it is.
3. Yeah, most stuff labeled as “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” comes in glass containers. A glass container in NO WAY ensures anything. All it means when most things labeled as EVOO come in glass is that most fake EVOO comes in glass.
4. Good EVOO comes in a good container. If you see some in aluminum, or even stainless steel…it is going to be more expensive because it will absolutely be REAL.
5. You always want this year’s harvest. Olive oil isn’t wine, it doesn’t improve with age. Look for EVOO with a date of harvest, or at least a “best by” date.
6. Beware of sales gimmick terminology. Some terms commonly used on olive oil labels are anachronistic, such as “first pressed” and “cold pressed”. Since most extra virgin oil nowadays is made with centrifuges, it isn’t “pressed” at all, and true extra virgin oil comes exclusively from the first processing of the olive paste
7. You CAN NOT trust the old stand by “test” for EVOO of putting it in the fridge to see if it becomes thick and “cloudy.”..that test can be beaten by EVOO fraudsters easily.
8. You don’t need Italian or Spanish or French Extra Virgin Olive Oil – you can get great EVOO produced in California, and in the USA, Californian EVOO is less likely to be fraudulent than Euro imports.
9. Just know that the more you spend, the more likely you are to get what you paid for.