Did you know Olive Oil is one of the most commonly faked foods? Counterfeiting is a huge problem in the oil industry, and consumer’s options for testing at home are limited at best, and totally inaccurate at worst. This means you could be paying a premium for what you expect to be genuine extra virgin olive oil, but be getting a lesser quality oil, or an oil that’s been ‘cut’ with poorer quality oils, so your bottle of extra virgin olive oil may not be extra virgin at all.
How to make sure your olive oil is REAL
- Be smart, don’t get suckered by the hype! There’s a buzzword born everyday, and words like “light”, “natural”, and “pure” are nothing but marketing buzzwords. They’re not regulated by any food quality organization, and have NO meaning in terms of what’s inside the bottle. “What about bottles that say ‘First Pressed’, or ‘Cold Pressed?’” I hear you asking. Sorry, but those terms are not regulated either.
- Virgins are the Best. When you quit laughing, buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil has the highest standards for quality. Regular olive oil doesn’t have to meet the same flavor and aroma standards. This is by no means a guarantee, but it will help weed out some of the poor quality olive oils right off the bat who employ more vague labeling.
- Just because it says it’s Italian, doesn’t mean it’s real! Bummer, I know, but Italian olive oils are guilty of this passing off lower quality oil as extra virgin olive oil too.
- Look for brands that pass muster. There are certain producers that have been independently investigated and found to be the real deal. Olive Oils that passed include McEvoy Ranch in California, California Olive Ranch, Cobram Estate from Australia, Oro Bailen from Spain.
- Show me your badge! For California olive oil, you can search for “COOC” certified Extra Virgin on the label. For a global certification, look for the “EVA” label. Unaprol has a “100% Quality Italiana” certification too.
- Say no to old oil! Don’t buy anything that is older than a year, and don’t buy more than you can use before it goes bad. I know those bulk containers are tempting (hey, I get it! I love a good deal!) but is it really a good deal if you’re stuck with half a container of nasty, rancid olive oil? Nope.
I personally use California Olive Ranch EVOO when I have recipes that call for olive oil. I like this one because it’s COOC certified, and lists a harvest date, so you can gauge the freshness. Oh, and the flavor is smooth, pleasant, and has noticeable olive notes.