How To Recognize Extra Virgin Olive Oil From Frauds

You have no doubt heard at least a few times before about the benefits of extra virgin olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil is super heart healthy, since it’s loaded with the good kinds of fats that actually work to lower levels of cholesterol in your body. Combine all these health benefits and more, with the delicious and savory taste of the stuff, and it’s no surprise at all that extra virgin olive oil is a staple in virtually every pantry in America.

However, much like wasabi, extra virgin olive oil can often be fraudulently labeled. That’s right; even if a bottle containing olive oil is expensive, and claims to be extra virgin certified on the label, does not guarantee that that is the actual product contained within the bottle. Simply put, all olive oils are not created equal, and what’s more disconcerting is that up to 69 percent of the imported olive oil that is sold in California alone, is found to not actually be qualified as extra virgin grade olive oil.

Most olive oils out on the market today are cut with much cheaper vegetable oils in order to save on costs. Here’s how to tell the difference between real extra virgin olive oil, and the fraudulent wannabes.

What Exactly Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Extra virgin olive oil must follow a very specific set of criteria. To start, the oil absolutely must come from fresh olives that were milled within 24 hours of their harvest date. Next, the oil must be extracted through mechanical means, which means no extraction methods from heat or chemicals are acceptable. The oil must not be treated with chemicals in any way. This allows actual extra virgin olive oil to be nothing but fresh olive juice, high in antioxidants and healthy fats. If you can, try to buy cold pressed extra virgin olive oil, for the most benefits.

How Can You Recognize It?

First, read the label and put it back if it states that it is a “light” olive oil, or a “blend”. Also be sure to look at the date of harvest (it should be from this current year’s harvest), aswell as the best by date. It should be within two years of the date of harvest. Oil that is packaged in dark bottles is protected from oxidization. Also, look for a seal from the International Olive Oil Council (IOC). 

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Dilip D

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