“Irreparable Damage”

The Australians have joined the fight against fraudulent labeling of olive oil:

The International Olive Council this week attacked research from the University of California’s Davis Olive Centre and the Australian Oils Research Laboratory which found 73 per cent of samples from the five top-selling imported extra-virgin olive oil brands in the US failed IOC standards for classification as extra virgin. The study also found oils were below par because of exposure to high temperatures and light; age; adulteration with cheaper refined oil; or because they were made from damaged and overripe olives, were improperly stored, or had processing flaws.

IOC executive director Jean-Louis Barjol said the research findings had an “undercurrent of aggressive, inexplicable criticism of imported olive oil quality”. “This could cause irreparable damage to the reputation of olive oil, which it has taken so much time and effort to achieve and maintain,” Mr Barjol said.

Australian Olive Association president Paul Miller said Mr Barjol’s remarks were a standard response from the IOC, which had accredited the two laboratories used in the study. “It’s hypocritical because last time they said this, not long afterwards the Spanish government did some testing and found the same problem in Spain,” Mr Miller said. “They just don’t like people finding things wrong.

“They say everything that’s made in Europe conforms (to the standards) and we know that’s not the case.” Mr Miller applauded the work by the University of California, which also failed samples from an Australian oil, Cobram Estate, because it had spent too long on the shelf. “It was old and that was the point of the test,” he said.The IOC is based in Madrid, Spain, and has 23 member states.

As well as Cobram Estate, the oils bought from California supermarkets and subjected to sensory and chemical testing for the study were: Filippo Berio, Bertolli, Pompeian, Colavita, Star, California Olive Ranch and the top-selling brand from Italy, Lucini.

It’s great that the backlash against fraud has finally been taken note of in the media. Those of us who produce authentic, high quality oils have been damaged for decades by unscrupulous produces of cheap, inferior, blended gunk. If anyone has been irreparably damaged, however, it’s the consumer, who purchases what he thinks is high quality extra-virgin olive oil, but instead of getting all the health benefits thereof, has instead been putting nut oils and other impurities into his body. Not only is he not enjoying better health, he might be poisoning himself over time, especially if he has but allergies! It’s disgraceful.

Olive oil is made from these:

These are olives.

Olive oil is not made from these:

These are not olives.


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