Is your olive oil the real deal?
A third of olive oils tested in the UK last year by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) were found to be of insufficient quality.
In fact, olive oil actually tops the EU’s list of the ten foods most at risk of fraud.
It has been suggested that organised crime is switching to food fraud from drug trafficking because the penalties are much softer with CBS indicating that fake oil could be three times more lucrative than cocaine.
With this in mind and as the production costs of olive oil continues to increase, the surge of fake oil is anticipated to continue.
There are all kinds of ways that people will try to pass off sub standard oils for extra virgin olive oil. Sometimes, olive oil will be cut with sunflower oil or some other form of oil. It may also be diluted with low-quality and/or chemically refined oil or with oil that’s no longer fresh. In some cases, producers will use older stocks of oil from previous harvests.
Olive oil deteriorates with exposure to heat, light and oxygen which is why the way in which the oil is stored is so important. Where you have olive oil stored in transparent, plastic bottles in the supermarket, even if it was deemed extra virgin initially, it may not be by the time it reaches the consumer.
So how can you make sure you are getting the real deal?
Our advice is simple, know where your oil comes from. Look for small, family run producers where the focus is quality not quantity. Buy from a supplier you trust and read the labels.