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 extra virgin olive oil 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
In a study at the UC Davis Olive Center, it was found that 69% of the imported ‘extra virgin’ olive oil sold in California supermarkets did not qualify as extra virgin. Tests indicate that imported “extra virgin”olive oil often fails international and USDA standards.
A bottle labeled “extra-virgin olive oil” may not be olive oil and instead be a seed oil which is made to smell and look like olive oil by adding a few drops of chlorophyll and beta-carotene making it part of the olive oil fraud.
‘Olive Oil Fraud’ oils that failed to meet the ‘extra virgin’ olive oil standards:
- Filippo Berio
- Newman’s Own
- Whole Foods
These olive oils have met the extra-virgin standards; this list of brands is from the research above.
- Bariani Olive Oil is Stone Crushed, Cold Pressed, Decanted and Unfiltered California Extra Virgin Olive Oil and they are committed to producing an authentic extra virgin olive oil which is raw. Weston Price recommends this oil.
- Olive Oil
- Corto Olive – can sometimes be purchased at Cosco.
- Cobram Estate – Australia’s most awarded extra virgin olive oil
- California Olive Ranch
- Kirkland Organic
- Lucero (Ascolano)
- McEvoy Ranch Organic
- Whole Foods California 365
Consumer Reports (September 2012 issue), published results of a taste test of 138 bottles of extra virgin olive oil from 23 manufacturers. The olive oil was sourced from the US, Argentina, Greece, Chile, and Italy. They found that olive oil produced in California exceeded those from Italy.
Two highest scoring olive oils (both from California) from their testing were:
- McEvoy Ranch
- Trader Joe’s California Estate