By Leah Bourne, The Vivant
Well, we are feeling seriously duped right now. According to two new studies by researchers at UC Davis, an estimated 69 percent of all store-bought extra virgin olive oil in the U.S. is fake.
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Researchers analyzed 186 extra virgin olive oil samples against standards established by the International Olive Council (IOC), as well as methods used in Germany and Australia.
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Here's what they found: Of the top-selling "extra virgin" olive oil brands, 73 percent of the samples failed the IOC sensory standards. Failing can mean the samples are oxidized, of poor quality, and/or adulterated with cheaper reﬁned oils.
The brands that failed to meet the extra virgin olive oil standards include: Bertolli, Carapelli, Colavita, Star, and Pompeian. In other words, major brands.
According to Consumer Reports: "In Europe, the 'extra virgin' label is strictly regulated and requires, among other things, that the oil is produced by cold processing (mashing or slicing), meets certain standards for acidity and other characteristics, and is free of taste defects. But those standards are voluntary in the U.S., and manufacturers or importers can use the 'extra virgin' label on oils that are subpar or have been stored improperly, which can degrade their quality."
One tip for getting great olive oil, is to check the harvest date on the bottle. Which is something we will be doing a lot more often thanks to this information.