How do we get the best olive oils when there is an ‘Olive Oil Fraud’ happening? Many of us want to use an authentic ‘extra virgin olive oil’ to get all the wonderful health benefits and taste but are you using real or fake oil?
When you go to the trouble of seeking it out the authentic oil and spending the extra money, there is a high chance that it is not an extra virgin oil at all!
It is one of the many that are part of the ‘Olive Oil Fraud’.
A high percentage of the oils are not at all what they say on the label. Just because they say it is ‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’ (EVOO) or even ‘Certified’ does not mean that it actually is. They are not created equal.
This post is updated on a regular basis and reflects the current information available. Due to a disease that many olive trees have been getting, olive trees are dying. If you want olive oil then you need to buy some before there is none. This is very sad.
On March 31, I added 3 more EVOO’s. On February 8, 2020, I added 5 more EVOOs. In April and October 2019 I added 2 on each month that are still available now. – Diana
What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)?
- First, the oil must come from fresh olives that were milled within 24 hours of their harvest.
- Next, it must be extracted by mechanical means, not from heat or chemicals.
- They must not be treated chemically in any way.
- EVOO is, in fact, fresh olive juice.
- Being a fruit, olives contain natural antioxidants that protect the plant during its lifetime. When the olive tree is very old it contains more of these antioxidants. This is one of the reasons that olive trees are often hundreds of years old and create antioxidant-rich products.
As you read above, they are not all the same, so it is important to purchase the right type of oil.
EVOO (cold-pressed) is what we want.
6 Tips for Recognizing Real EVOO
How do we know if our oil is the real thing and not part of the olive oil fraud?
- Do not buy light olive oil or a blend; it isn’t virgin quality.
- When EVOO costs less than $10 a litre it may not be authentic oil.
- Real oils are sold in dark bottles, as this protects the oil from oxidation. Look for that.
- Look for a seal from the International Olive Oil Council (IOC)
- Look for a harvesting date on the label.
- It can get old and rancid. A simple test for a good oil is to taste a little on a spoon. Not rancid, the real oil will have a fruity taste in the front of your mouth and a peppery taste in the back of your mouth.
’60 Minutes’ Looks at The Oil Adulteration in Italy. Watch this video to learn more about olive oil fraud.
Extra Virgin Suicide slide show by Nicholas Blechman explains well what happens on the NY Times
In America, more than $700 million a year is spent on olive oil, but unfortunately, it is much of it is not authentic because of the olive oil fraud. Most of these oils on the market are cut with cheap vegetable oils making them part of the olive oil fraud.
The results from the Consumer Report’s found that only 9 of the 23 olive oils from Italy, Spain, and California tested, and passed as being EVOO even though all of them claimed so on the label. AND: “More than half tasted fermented or stale.”
“International standards for extra virgin olive oil are mostly unenforced. Although the term ‘extra virgin’ is generally understood to denote the highest quality of olive oil, industry representatives report that the current standards are easily met by producers and allow olive oil marketed as ‘extra virgin’ to represent a wide range of qualities. This lack of enforcement has resulted in a long history of fraudulent practices (adulteration and mislabelling) in the olive oil sector.” – United States International Trade Commission
A study at the UC Davis Olive Center found that 69% of the imported EVOO sold in California supermarkets did not qualify as extra virgin. Tests indicate that imported EVOO often fails international and USDA standards.
A bottle labeled EVOO may not be real and instead be a seed oil that is made to smell and look the same by adding a few drops of chlorophyll and beta-carotene making it part of the olive oil fraud.
Oils that failed to meet EVOO standards:
- Filippo Berio
- Newman’s Own
- Whole Foods
Best Olive Oils
“Just so you know, Real Food for Life may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page because I am an Amazon affiliate.”
The brands we want will be those that have passed the extra-virgin standards. The list below is from the research above.
Bariani Olive Oil is Stone Crushed, Cold-Pressed, Decanted, and Unfiltered. They are committed to producing real oil which is raw. Weston Price recommends this brand.
Kirkland Organic – Amazon says: “Certified organic by the USDA. Made from the first cold pressing.” Comments on Amazon: of the 478 people who gave stars, 73% gave 5 stars. I have to say it is very delicious, tasting like real olives; I’m just finishing up the bottle I bought.
Corto EVOO – “We call it TRULY 100% extra-virgin olive oil because this full-bodied olive oil is the real deal. 70% of extra virgin olive oils on the market have gone rancid, which is why we’ve gone to extra lengths to protect ours. What makes us different is that we don’t wait until winter when the olives are over-ripe, like other brands do. Instead, we harvest in the Fall, when the olives are at the peak of freshness: green, with just a hint of violet.”
Cobram Estate – Australia’s most awarded brand
California Olive Ranch – Award-winning brand. It is in a tinted glass bottle that protects oil and is 100% grown and made in California.
McEvoy Ranch Organic – Estate-grown and produced from select Italian olive varieties, this certified organic extra-virgin oil features a grass-green color with the aroma of newly cut grass and a hint of green apple. A dark green bottle protects this delicious oil from heat and light and includes a built-in spout for easy, mess-free pouring.
Olea Estates 100% extra virgin olive oil – This one is grown on a single family farm in Greece and is a great tasting olive oil. Harvested and cold-pressed on the same day to maintain all the quality, healthy natural antioxidants, and flavors of our olive oil.
Ottavio – EVOO From Italy. It is produced from olives that offer a vibrant bouquet and an extremely high-quality fresh oil flavour, with pleasing notes of spiciness but is packaged in a plastic bottle.
Ascolano EVOO – authentic 100% Californian oil. Currently unavailable
Trader Joe’s California has been discontinued.
Omaggio – Currently unavailable.
Whole Foods California 365 – 100% Californian, Unfiltered, Cold Processed, Certified Extra Virgin – Currently unavailable.
3 More Good Olive Oil Brands I Found in March 2020
Lodi Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Premium California, Certified Cold Pressed and Pure.
“Our Frantoio Extra Olive Oil carries the fruity flavor of Frantoio Olives with subtle grassy notes & a late hint of green apple; Made from handpicked local Frantoio olives.” ~ Lodi Frantoio
Casina Rosssa Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) With Sicilian Lemon. A family produced olive oil from the paradisiacal village of Roccascalenga in Abruzzo.
“I bought this the first time at an Italian specialty store in Maryland. I was delighted to find it on Amazon. It is flavorful and I use it in lots of recipes that call for lemon zest or juice.” ~ Amazon Buyer
Papa Vince Olive Oil Extra Virgin, First Cold Pressed Family Harvest in Sicily, Italy. 100% Non-Blended Cold Pressed Extra Virgin – Taste Like Olives w/ hints of Tomato, Artichoke & Pepper. Raw, Unrefined & Unfiltered – to preserve nutrients and flavors that make it delicious & healthy
“This is the Best Olive Oil EVER tasted in this Blessed Life. Tried on salad mixed with Miabella Balsamic Vinegar. Mixed my own recipe for dipping.” ~ Amazon Buyer
5 Good Brands I Found in February 2020
Anatomico Organic Coratina EVOO It is made in Puglia Italy. This oil is organic and extra virgin, offering enhanced taste and greater benefits. Cold extracted, unfiltered, and obtained directly from Italian olives, this olive oil features the fruity, juicy taste of green olives with subtle hints of fresh-cut grass and bitter almonds.
Tuscan Gold Eleganza is an Italian cultivar blend. Gold medal winner at the 2019 New York International EVOO Competition and Los Angeles International Competition. One of the world’s most authentic olive oils! “Our olives are hand-harvested, first cold press, and unfiltered. We produce quality EVOO with high to very very high total polyphenols.”
Knolive Epicure was Ranked Nº1 Best EVOO in the world 2018 by EVOO World Ranking. 100% PURE AND NATURAL
Selección Familiar is an annual limited edition extra virgin olive oil from a selection of our best centuries-old Picual olive trees. Gold medal winner at the 2019 at International Olive Oil Competition.
Oro Bailen Family Reserve is an Award Winning Cold Pressed EVOO, 2013-2014 Harvest. It is prepared using olives produced in the olive groves belonging to the Gálvez-González family, located in the foothills of Sierra Morena, the northern mountain range in the province of Jaén.
Two Good Brands I Found in April 2019
TERRA Delyssa – Certified Organic EVOO, 100% Tunisian Certified Organic – Meets and exceeds USDA and International “IOC” standards. Brought to you by the same farmers and millers that controlled the quality of Terra Delyssa from tree to bottle.
Venta del Baron Award Winning Cold Pressed EVOO – For four years running, Venta Del Baron took 1st place in the ranking at the World’s Best EVOO competition winner 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016!
Another very good One:
Bertolli Organic EVOO – It is made from organic olives and produced using organic farming standards. This oil was on our list of not being approved but we have now learned that was incorrect.
Here is a statement from the company: “Our olive oil exceeds the rigorous and exacting standards of the International Olive Council (IOC) and European Union (EU). As proof, in 2017 alone, we achieved global recognition for the quality of our products, winning 4 gold, 3 silver and 1 bronze awards at multiple prestigious international competitions.”
Consumer Reports (September 2012 issue), published results of a taste test of 138 bottles of extra virgin olive oil from 23 manufacturers. The oil was sourced from the US, Argentina, Greece, Chile, and Italy. They found that oil produced in California exceeded those from Italy.
More Authentic Ones
Partanna Extra Virgin Olive Oil is cold-pressed oil, unfiltered oil grown and packaged in Partanna, Sicily. The Asaro family has been producing it since 1916. This EVOO has been the winner of Gold Medals at the L.A. County Fair.
Ellora EVOO is very good. It is 100% Pure Cretan, the origin and authenticity is certified by the EU standards. While meeting the stringent requirements it maintains a focus on environmental consciousness and tradition. When you are ordering it online it comes in many sizes which can make shipping more economical.
Another discovered that is certified:
Kasandrinos Organic EVOO Greek – 100% certified organic, non-GMO from Kasandrinos century-old family orchard. Mechanical cold-pressing within 48 hours locks in the delicious flavor of the olives at the peak of ripeness.
How about the EVOO fridge test as stated by Dr. Oz?
Dr. Oz said that when you put an authentic EVOO in the refrigerator, it will become thick and cloudy as it cools completely.
The ‘Fridge Test’ should not be considered accurate. Some oils made from high-wax olive varieties will even solidify according to a Fridge Test.
Learn more about how to use olive oil.
Olive oil is my favourite for making salad dressings.