According to reliable reports, 80 percent of the Italian olive oil sold on the market is probably not organic and natural as advertised.
Though some think this percentage is exaggerated, others believe that the bigger issue is the poor olive oil quality being mislabeled as virgin or extra virgin.
Be that as it may, it appears that when we buy olive oil, we’re not buying what the label says we are.
The Scam of Fake Italian Olive Oil
New York Times warns that a lot of the Italian olive oil on the world’s market is neither virgin, nor Italian. This being said, unless you’ve purchased it from a certified distributor or a producer, the bottle of olive oil in your cabinet labeled ‘Italian extra virgin’ is probably fake.
In some cases, it is not olive oil at all, rather a vegetable oil mixed with colorings and aromas!
For years, David Neuman, a taster and olive oil expert who is CEO of the Greek food company Gaea North America, has been warning about the mislabeling of oils, but it is even worse that consumers, governments, and retailers are refusing to see the real truth.
Without doubt, there is good and bad olive oil all around the world; and, there are Italian makers who stand by their products; however, the nature of the Italian problem is influencing the rest of Europe.
The biggest problem is the fraud being done against the consumers. Producers should offer quality oil that meets all standards, which isn’t the case. Believe it or not, even in Italian supermarkets, there is a 50 percent rate of fraudulent olive oil in markets.
What Is Being Done to Stop Fake Italian Olive Oil?
Despite the efforts of the government in Italia to stop the so-called agro mafia which is behind the fake olive oil production and marketing, as well as campaigns by producers trying to regain the reputation, there has been a major olive oil scandal in Southern Italy.
It includes olive oils from Turkey, Morocco, Syria, and Tunisia which are sold as original Italian extra virgin olive oil to foreign markets, especially to Japan and the US.
Unfortunately, there is lack of resources to control more than 350,000 tons of olive oil going into the country. Therefore, even after all these scandals, fake olive oil bottles have not moved from the market shelves.
What Brands of Olive Oils Should We Avoid?
According to independent tests done at the University of California, 69 percent of store-bought extra virgin olive oils in the US are probably fraudulent. These were the brands that didn’t meet the standards for extra virgin olive oil:
- Whole Foods
- Newman’s Own
- Filippo Berio