The Most (and Least) Fake Extra Virgin Olive Oil Brands

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Frauds! An estimated 69% of all store-bought extra virgin olive oils in the US are probably fake, according to tests by the University of California. UC Davis tested samples from the top-selling extra virgin olive oil brands to find the ones that are not worth buying and those that are.

In two studies, UC Davis researchers analyzed a total of 186 extra virgin olive oil samples against standards established by the International Olive Council (IOC), as well as methods used in Germany and Australia. They found:

Of the five top-selling imported “extra virgin” olive oil brands in the United States, 73 percent of the samples failed the IOC sensory standards for extra virgin olive oils analyzed by two IOC-accredited sensory panels. The failure rate ranged from a high of 94 percent to a low of 56 percent depending on the brand and the panel. None of the Australian and California samples failed both sensory panels, while 11 percent of the top-selling premium Italian brand samples failed the two panels. Sensory defects are indicators that these samples are oxidized, of poor quality, and/or adulterated with cheaper refined oils.

You might raise your eyebrows at the conclusion that Australian and California extra virgin olive oils are purer than most Italian olive oils, since the research was partially funded by the California Olive Ranch and the California Olive Oil Council and has ties with the Australian Olive Association. However, we’ve seen before that olive oil simply bottled in Italy might not be the real thing. You can see the detailed analyses from UC Davis in this PDF.

The brands that failed to meet the extra virgin olive oil standards, according to this study: Bertolli, Carapelli, Colavita, Star, Pompeian. Eat Grown Local also reports: Filippo Berio, Mazzola, Mezzetta, Newman’s Own, Safeway, and Whole Foods in this list; the data may be from the earlier 2010 study when more brands were evaluated.

The real deal: California Olive Ranch, Cobram Estate, Lucini. Kirkland Organic, Lucero (Ascolano), McEvoy Ranch Organic are also noted by Eat Grown Local.

We’ve shown you a few tips before for how to tell legitimate olive oil from the fake ones, but if you’re in a hurry or just want a shortcut, consider reaching for the brands that tested best.

article source: lifehacker


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