Is Your Olive Oil Really Olive Oil?


By Nancy Smorch

Have you read about the big olive oils scam?  I’m embarrassed to say, I just recently discovered them, myself.

Is Your Olive Oil Really Olive Oil?

While reading an email from Dave Asprey, the Bulletproof Executive, I quickly learned about the deception and money-making scandals going on in this huge olive oil scam.

You see, olive oil is best consumed just after it has been harvested and pressed (unlike wine).  However, most olive oils shipped to the U.S. get shipped months after being pressed.  The taste and health benefits start to fade within three to six months after bottling.

In addition, many olive oils have been fraudulently sold as “extra virgin” and imported, when in fact they have been adulterated with cheaper oils like soy (which is mostly likely genetically modified), canola, hazelnut or sunflower seed oil.  It may also be adulterated with food coloring to make it look fresher.  The labels will also be misleading in terms of the country of origin.

Apparently, the profits are pretty large when pushing sub-standard olive oil.  According to an investigation done by New Yorker, olive oil was the most adulterated agricultural product in the E.U. (European Union).

Authentic extra virgin olive oil has a number of health benefits, including reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, lowering blood pressure, reducing your risk of diabetes, helping cool inflammation, and protecting against cancer, among many other things.  Unfortunately, the olive oil that most Americans are consuming, most likely does not contain these health benefits.

For a full article on this scam, check out this New Yorker article, “Olive Oil’s Dark Side."

What can you do to make sure your olive oil is authentic extra virgin olive oil?  

One thing is to look for a production date to determine its freshness, not the “use by” date.  Many bottlers in the U.S. leave off the bottled date purposely, knowing that buyers may opt out of buying an olive oil that was bottled months before they see it on the shelf.

Also, check out Tom Mueller’s site, Truth in Olive Oil.  After years of researching and reporting on the olive oil industry, he has not only written a book about it, Extra Virginity, he has also started a website dedicated to his research and investigations and to helping the consumer find great quality, authentic extra virgin olive oil.

He also dives into introducing readers to skilled olive oil makers and discusses and celebrates the history and culture surrounding olive oil.  He wants to start, as he puts it, “nothing short of an olive oil revolution.”  So come join the party!

If you’re wondering which supermarket brands get Tom’s approval, here’s the link for his best olive oil picks.

Here, also, is the link to the offer that came through the Bulletproof Executive for an olive oil club, which directly imports authentic extra virgin olive oil into the U.S. from the harvesters and artisanal producers.  I signed up!  I'm looking forward my first shipment of, literally, fresh off the press, extra virgin olive oil.

We really need to amp up our efforts!  Here’s another example of how we need to ask questions, demand the truth, and do our own research to seek out the best food for our health and the health of our family and friends!