Slippery slope

Next time you cook, ask yourself if the olive oil you are using is real. Olive oil fraud is rampant. Olive oil fraud? Yes, olive oil fraud!

Quite frequently large quantities of olive oil are being seized for being counterfeit and/or containing a potentially dangerous substance.

More than 66% of common brands of extra-virgin olive oil found in California grocery stores aren’t what they claim to be, according to a University of California at Davis study.

Instead, the oils were spoiled or made from lower quality olives unfit to be labeled “extra virgin. Or even worse, some were outright counterfeits, made from soy, hazelnut, and even fish oils mixed with low grade olive-pomace oil.

Olive oil is big business. For instance, Americans spend $700 million on olive oil annually. Olive oil is more expensive, since it is more costly and time consuming to produce. Part of what makes olive oil so valuable is its many health benefits. Rich in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, olive oil can lower LDL cholesterol and blood pressure while stabilizing blood sugar levels and reducing inflammation in the body.

The study gives some tips on how to spot the fakes: avoid “Light” olive oil at all costs. This is the lowest quality olive oil on the plant. If you can find oils with the International Olive Oil Council certification, go for those.

So next time you shop for groceries, check ‘your brand’ carefully.

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