NUTRITION&FOOD Published March5, 2015 By Staff Reporter

Are You Using Fake Olive Oil?

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Olive Oil Prices Soar After Dismal Harvest
(Photo : David Silverman | Getty Images News)

More people are shifting to olive oil believing it's going to promote a much better health. While this is true, there's also another side of the story: your olive oil may simply be fake.

Olive oil is considered as one of the best types. It is rich in omega-3 fatty acids that can decrease bad cholesterol, promote a healthier cardiovascular system, and encourage a better brain.

However, Deane Alban wants to warn the public that many well-known olive oils may be fake, based on her article in Eat Local Grown. Alban, who's a health writer for the past 2 decades and runs her own website called Be Brain Fit, cites that many olive oil brands commit forgery.

There are a couple of ways to achieve fake oil. The manufacturers or sellers may simply combine a small point of pure olive oil with poor-quality ones or just pack unhealthy oils such as canola, add some flavor, and sell them as luxury olive oil.

How serious is olive oil fraud in the market? It's actually incredibly severe that an Italian crackdown netted more than $8 million worth of these fake oils. These are usually the ones bottled with a symbol of an Italian flag, given a fancy name, and then sold in U.S. markets.

Speaking of the United States, the country spends as much as $1.5 billion on these fake oils. Other huge markets are Oceania, namely, New Zealand and Australia.

She also wants to stress that consumers should not immediately fall into olive oils with "virgin." The best type of olive oil is extra virgin, which has been cold pressed at a certain temperature.

Alban went on to name some of the brands that have not passed the tests conducted by an independent lab in the University of California. They represent over 65% of olive oils that didn't pass the scrutiny. Some of these brands are Mazzola, Filippo Berio, and Bertolli. Newman's Own also made it to the list. Although failing the test doesn't have to mean they're outright fake, it may mean you're not getting your money's worth with them.

Meanwhile, the same test identifies brands like California Olive Ranch, Corto Olive, and Kirkland Organic as most likely pure.

She mentions that a good way to test the purity of the oil is to keep it in the fridge. Real olive oil solidifies.

Update from Deane Alban: Hi, I'm the author of the post you refer to on Eat Local Grown. Since I wrote that post 2 years ago there has been some changes. U of California has a newer study and some things have changed. For example California Ranch did not pass the latest EVOO standards. Class action suits have been filed against 2 of these OO distributors. If you are concerned about the quality of your OO, I recommend you read my most recent post which contains all the latest updates. 

Thanks, Deane! 

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