Have you become aware of the bountiful health perks of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) and want to add the oil to your diet? Do you crave to infuse EVOO's wonderful flavour with your food? Either way, welcome to the high society of EVOO enthusiasts. But this is a harsh reality. Countless unscrupulous shops and websites sell low-quality olive oil disguised as EVOO, eager to rip off unsuspecting customers. In this post, you will learn how to tell between real and fake olive oil. Or you can skip the whole thing and buy our authenticated, award-winning EVOO products—your choice.
Types of fake EVOO
Extract the juice from fresh olives, and you have olive oil. But if you want to add an "extra virgin" part to your label, your olive oil sample must pass an official chemical test in a laboratory and a tasting test recognized by the International Olive Council based in Marid (Spain). EVOO must be pure olive oil of the highest quality from the same harvest with no chemicals and processing whatsoever.
Fake EVOO can be ordinary olive oil that doesn't meet the extra virgin standard but still gets added to the label. Another counterfeit EVOO is olive oil from different places or times of harvest. This practice is relatively widespread and, though not causing health problems, significantly decreases the value of the oil. Also, blended olive oil never qualifies as EVOO. The worst scenario of EVOO fakery is olive oil diluted with cheap types of oil, such as soybean oil.
EVOO fraud: a sad state of affair
A Forbes article in 2016 claims that 80 % of Italian olive oil products in the market were fake. In 2017, the Canadian market was so flooded with counterfeit EVOO products that the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) decided to test all olive oil brands. The olive oil industry is still rife with stories of scams and corruption.
Tips on how to buy real EVOO
Only buy products that say "extra virgin olive oil" on the label
You should only buy olive oil with the phrase "extra virgin" on the label and include a Low Acidic percentage of 0.8% and lower. No EVOO producers are foolish enough to omit those magic words. Products that don't explicitly say "extra virgin olive oil" on the label are 100% non-EVOO. Don't try your luck buying olive oil labelled "pure" or "virgin" and hope it is authentic EVOO. Of course, the EVOO-labeled products aren't necessarily what they claim to be. That's why we need the next steps.
Look for dates and location
EVOO products from reliable producers usually contain specific information about "harvest date," "pressed on" date, "used by" date, etc. They can also come with where the olives were harvested and the variety of olives. Generally, the more information they have, the more likely they are to be genuine. Besides, real olive oil only stays fresh for a maximum of one year to 24 months from harvest. If you can't find the expiration date on an olive oil bottle, there is something wrong with it.
Be careful with the claim of origin
Products that claim to be from countries strongly associated with olive oil aren't guaranteed to be authentic. In fact, sellers pumping fraudulent olive oil into the market are more likely to boast that their products are exported from Italy or Greece while they are actually canola, vegetable, and seed oils. Be savvy and read the label to find the place of harvest.
Prices are no reliable indicator
EVOO is never cheap, so you should instantly stay away from low-priced products with such an audacious claim. But on the other hand, handsomely packaged bottles of olive that punch a big hole into your wallet aren't guaranteed to be honest EVOO. So don't get fooled by exorbitant price tags.
Pay attention to the bottles
EVOO contained in dark glass bottles or tins is more likely, to be genuine and authentic. Transparent containers don't match with olive oil. The reason is that light, be it natural or artificial, can travel through the clear bottle and shine onto the oil. This will significantly reduce the oil's quality and shorten its shelf life. Of course, conscientious manufacturers can't allow that to happen. Our clear glass bottles are used for early harvest products, 7Thirty Ultra Premium EVOO and consumed within a few months. Why? They aren't affected by our farmer's markets or online orders, where the bottles are not on shelves. Clear bottles also provide full transparency into the colour of the Olive Oil.
Taste doesn't lie
The best way to identify genuine EVOO is simply to open the bottle and have a go. EVOO should have a grassy smell and a peppery flavor that causes a mild sensation in your throat. On the other hand, fake olive oil tastes just like any cheap fat with a greasy, rancid acidic feeling, no flavour and no aroma. It also leaves an undesirable aftertaste after you swallow it.
Use the olive oil ranking
One question is probably nagging at the back of your mind: but I can't simply walk into a grocery store and taste a bottle of olive, can I? Sure, you have to pay for it so you can taste it, which can be troublesome and expensive. Therefore you should minimize the risk of falling for fake EVOO by only choosing reliable brands. But who are they?
For your information, NYIOOC is the largest and most prestigious contest annually to determine the world's best EVOO. It awards Gold and Silver Awards to deserving brands, creating a comprehensive list of trustworthy EVOO products for foodies worldwide.
Hopefully, this guide helps you with shopping for real EVOO. One little secret: Ilias and Sons EVOO has established as a leader in Fresh, Healthy and Flavourful Extra Virgin Olive Oils. Winning multiple awards at the NYIOOC in 2021 and 2022.
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