January 16, 2009

You Ask, I Answer: Olive Oil Regulations

Your post on the adulteration of olive oil freaks me out as I had no idea about this.

I recently mentioned this to a friend who told me that she didn't quite buy into this.

[She said] food was tested and regulated by the government.

[Since that] post is from a year ago, [do you have] any updates, Andy?

-- Dennise O'Grady

Bay Head, NJ

I'm afraid there aren't many updates to that posting.

The United States still has not joined the International Olive Oil Council, and olive oil adulteration is alive and well throughout the world.

I'm not too sure what your friend isn't buying into. After all, The Food & Drug Administration performs random tests on olive oil entering the United States.

Adulterated oils making their way in from abroad -- and being produced nationally! -- is not a far-fetched idea.

There simply are not enough resources to test every single bottle. Hence, high-profile cases of olive oil adulteration come to light once these products are on supermarket shelves -- NOT when they arrive to US shores.

Additionally, dishonest manufacturers know how to play the game.

They know how to make these lower-quality oils pass as genuine olive oil in the administered tests. That is precisely why many olive oil experts are calling for more detailed biochemical examination of samples.

Olive oil adulteration is not an undocumented urban legend.

Your friend might be interested in reading this. Or this. And this.

In the meantime, if this is a concern for you, I recommend purchasing your olive oil from any of the California Olive Oil Council's approved producers.

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