Extra Virgin Olive Oil revisited

Admittedly many of my first attempts at podcasting from years ago weren’t the best quality, so I’ve been cleaning out old posts and podcasts recently.  I came across one about olive oil from 7 years ago that deserved an update.

My original concern was that olive oil fraud — specifically extra virgin olive oil fraud (try saying that out loud several times!) — is rampant.  EVOO is more expensive and consumers are getting cheated by this fraud.  Since that time, The USDA still has not established any meaningful regulations for olive oil, other than voluntary standards for quality and purity.  California, a major olive oil producer, did recently mandate that producers of more than 5000 gallons per year must submit samples for testing to ensure correct labeling of olive oil grades.  The California Olive Oil Council is another player in the certification business; members submit samples for testing and can post the seal on package labels.  The Italian Agricultural Confederation also has a certification program to fight EVOO fraud.

All of which still leaves consumers in the dark about which product to pick.  I occasionally look for certification seals, but I have other strategies for choosing olive oil:

  1. Buy boutique oils with a single country of origin listed on the label.
  2. Choose oils in dark tinted bottles, not clear bottles with bright green oil.
  3. Look for a harvest date.  Oils are best used within 1-1/2 years of harvest.
  4. Look for certification seals, but not all quality products will have those, if the producers don’t choose to become members of those associations.
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