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MikeWhalen
04-23-2015, 11:57 AM
I was shocked to hear that there is a booming business in Organized Crime, to the tune of billions of dollars per year, in cheating the public by selling 'fake' Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The 'EVOO' is the most desired type of Olive Oil and there are rigid scientific standards that have to be met to meet this standard.
Apparently, for years now, criminal organizations, including the Italian Mafia, have been diluting the EVOO they sell with everything from poor standard olive oil, to canola oil or even industrial waste products!

There have been some scientific studies done on a variety of EVOO brand names and I was horrified to see that some of the Olive Oil I usually buy at the grocery store were on the 'failed to meet industry standard' list! here are a few of them...
"The following brands failed to meet EVOO standards:
Bertolli*
Carapelli
Colavita
Filippo Berio*
Mazzola
Mezzetta
Newman’s Own
Pompeian
Rachel Ray
Safeway
Star
Whole Foods"

and a later updated report found
"This time, the following brands failed to meet EVOO standards:
California Olive Ranch
Cobram Estate
Lucini
Colavita
Star
Bertolli
Filippo Berio
Pompeian"

Have any of you run into this problem? I know we have folks in the forum that live in Olive Oil producing area's, is this issue well known there and if so, how do you make sure you get the good stuff?

I will post a couple of links that have some fascinating info...I have tried to buy only well rated stuff, but it is not easy...not one of the EVOO's in any of the grocery stores I go to in my small Northern Ontario town had a crush date or even best before date, even though some were fairly expensive ($30 for 500 ml)-I did find some lists of recommended products and did buy some of them

http://www.donotlink.com/framed?651708

http://www.truthinoliveoil.com/2012/09/toms-supermarket-picks-quality-oils-good-prices

http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/oliveoil.asp

and this is a well regarded over all info site for Olive Oil...
http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/

Mike

Mamluk
04-23-2015, 02:16 PM
It's sad (and makes me angry) that manufacturers would dilute any product, particularly consumables, for extra profit.

I first heard about tainted olive oil a few years ago. At the time the main culprits were some Italian distributors.

In 2012 I visited an olive oil producer in Provence, and they prided themselves in making top-quality olive oil. They recommend that olive oil should be stored in stainless steel (?, either that or aluminum, but it was metal) containers, to keep out light. Olive oil in clear glass bottles is a bad idea because light degrades the oil. (In the "old days" in Galilee, my great-grandparents' generation used to store their oil in clay jars that were semi-buried in the earth, with the mouth of the jar above ground, and sealed with wax (maybe beeswax).

Although manufacturers state olive oil has a shelf-life of two years, the French producer said he recommends to consume the oil prior to the six-month mark. He also is not a fan of olive oil "blends"--if you look at the back label, where there are multiple countries of origin for the oil.

California has made excellent strides in the industry, given the climate, soil condition, and quality controls in place. I was surprised to see California Olive Ranch listed on the "failed" list!

Always check the label before you purchase the oil. If a country of origin is not even listed I'd stay away. As I write this, I just went to the kitchen to check the label of a gallon-tank I recently purchased, and I must have bought it in haste (because the price was right!)--I didn't take my own advice to read the label. It just says "Product of Italy," and the labeling doesn't have that professional look.

Price is a big concern, because olive oil is usually expensive, but like most things: you get what you pay for.

Mamluk
04-23-2015, 02:24 PM
This is the "iffy" label from a distributor based in California, but the oil is "Italian."

It says "product" of Italy... Which is vague. So it could be diluted with other oils, but it's still technically a "product" of Italy!

4415

This is from a small, dark glass bottle of Spanish oil. The label is more professional.

4416
4417

Mamluk
04-23-2015, 02:34 PM
It's common practice in the Levantine countries to consume olives and olive oil from trees growing on your own property, even when living in the heart of a bustling city.

My wife's maternal aunt has several olive trees growing around her house, and she and her daughter harvest the olives for pickling, and the rest they send to a neighborhood press which churns out the oil for them. Thus their oil is always local and always fresh. My grandparents used to do the same when they were alive.

Mamluk
04-23-2015, 02:39 PM
Here is a photo of a clay jar once used for storing olive oil. An Israeli hotel proprietor (in Safed, Galilee) unearthed it when he was doing a renovation.

4418

MikeWhalen
04-23-2015, 04:59 PM
Thats some good info Mamluk and thats a good story about your Aunts...thanks.

regarding your quote.
"California has made excellent strides in the industry, given the climate, soil condition, and quality controls in place. I was surprised to see California Olive Ranch listed on the "failed" list!"

that's an interesting story
...as I understand it, the olive oils in that test were about the various chemical signatures and purity, not taste. The original study in 2010 was criticized, not due to its scientific quality per se, but because it got some funding from the California Olive oil industry and some others cried foul. They redid parts of it in 2012 and the California Ranch was on the failed list the second time
but Ironically, the reporter that literally wrote the book on tainted/mobbed up oil has his own website (which I linked before) and he keeps a list of EVOO that he personally tastes and recommends and the California Ranch gets highly recommended
...if I had to guess, they had a bad year that one year with chemical quality control and its not representative of the general quality

Mike

rms2
04-23-2015, 06:50 PM
Wow. This is some bad news. Olive oil is pretty much the only oil we use these days, but we have not been overly careful about which kind we buy, other than EVOO stuff. My wife usually gets the big bottles of it at Costco. I'll have to check the brand name when I get home, but I am pretty sure it's Italian.

When I was last in California, some years ago, we attended St. Basil's Greek Orthodox Church in Stockton. They have some beautiful olive trees planted all around the outside of the church.

When I was a kid in northern California, there was a super-old olive orchard that was said to have been planted by the original Spanish settlers. The trees were large in diameter and very gnarly and old-looking. The orchard was also rumored to be haunted by the ghost of a woman in white known as the "White Witch of Calaveras".

Agamemnon
04-23-2015, 07:55 PM
Although I'm extremely ill right now (food poisoning), I consume loads of olive oil so I (along with my family) have been aware of this problem for ages. We live in Provence and since there's a law for everything here this problem has more or less been dealt with (most of the olive oil is local).
Also, my father also uses the olives which grow on our property to make olive oil, well he doesn't technically "make" the oil but he does take the time to collect the olives before sending them to a local producer (we do that for grape juice as well, my parents' house is literally surrounded by vineyards and olive trees).

rivergirl
04-23-2015, 11:35 PM
I used to use Bertolli and sometimes Cobram Estate.
I know buy local west aussie olive oil, as we have a good climate for olive farms. Most local markets and fairs have local olive oils etc for sale. There are also a few places where you can have your own olives pressed.

MikeWhalen
04-23-2015, 11:37 PM
RMS2
your in luck buddy, suprisingly, one of the Costco's own brands gets top notch reviews...I'm not sure if its the one you use, but if not, it would be easy for you to switch to
"Costco Kirkland Toscano – Kirkland is the Costco store brand. I’ve been disappointed by Kirkland Organic EVO (not to mention the “extra virgins” in multi-liter plastic jugs), but the Toscano signature oil is the real deal."

Aggamemnon
sorry to hear you had food poisoning...that can be a miserable experience
-you are very lucky to be able to live somewhere you can take your own olives to get made into EVOO!!
I only recently found out about the tainted Olive Oils, so before I just got the cheapest supermarket stuff. I have never tasted the 'peppery effect' the various experts rave about with them and evidently is because of the anti-oxcidents in the oil.

The last 3 bottles I have gotten are better/more proven quality, but now the issue is a lack of freshness and the experts say that after 18 months you lose all taste benifits and it really should be used within 6 months...the last bottle is the only one that had a date I could tell when it was picked by, so it is only a few months old so far, maybe it will have the taste of 'food stuff' to it-one can hope in frosty northern Ontario Canada eh?
:)

Mike

MikeWhalen
04-24-2015, 12:11 AM
Hi Francis
I too used to use Bertoli alot untill I saw this info, but the good news is, much like with rms2's fav. your cobram estate actually gets some very good reviews-this quote is from the page of the guy that wrote the book on the crooks in olive oil so I have alot of confidence in his opinion...

"Cobram Estate – extra virgin olive oil from a range of cultivars, grown in Australia with the medium high density agronomic model, which has won olive oil competitions including best of show at the 2011 Los Angeles County Fair. Available here:"

Mike


I used to use Bertolli and sometimes Cobram Estate.
I know buy local west aussie olive oil, as we have a good climate for olive farms. Most local markets and fairs have local olive oils etc for sale. There are also a few places where you can have your own olives pressed.

Kopfjäger
04-24-2015, 12:35 AM
I was shocked to hear that there is a booming business in Organized Crime, to the tune of billions of dollars per year, in cheating the public by selling 'fake' Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The 'EVOO' is the most desired type of Olive Oil and there are rigid scientific standards that have to be met to meet this standard.
Apparently, for years now, criminal organizations, including the Italian Mafia, have been diluting the EVOO they sell with everything from poor standard olive oil, to canola oil or even industrial waste products!

There have been some scientific studies done on a variety of EVOO brand names and I was horrified to see that some of the Olive Oil I usually buy at the grocery store were on the 'failed to meet industry standard' list! here are a few of them...
"The following brands failed to meet EVOO standards:
Bertolli*
Carapelli
Colavita
Filippo Berio*
Mazzola
Mezzetta
Newman’s Own
Pompeian
Rachel Ray
Safeway
Star
Whole Foods"

and a later updated report found
"This time, the following brands failed to meet EVOO standards:
California Olive Ranch
Cobram Estate
Lucini
Colavita
Star
Bertolli
Filippo Berio
Pompeian"

Have any of you run into this problem? I know we have folks in the forum that live in Olive Oil producing area's, is this issue well known there and if so, how do you make sure you get the good stuff?

I will post a couple of links that have some fascinating info...I have tried to buy only well rated stuff, but it is not easy...not one of the EVOO's in any of the grocery stores I go to in my small Northern Ontario town had a crush date or even best before date, even though some were fairly expensive ($30 for 500 ml)-I did find some lists of recommended products and did buy some of them

http://www.donotlink.com/framed?651708

http://www.truthinoliveoil.com/2012/09/toms-supermarket-picks-quality-oils-good-prices

http://www.snopes.com/food/ingredient/oliveoil.asp

and this is a well regarded over all info site for Olive Oil...
http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/

Mike

Ah, yes, my grandmother would be spinning in her grave over this, giving those mafiosi the infamous malocchio (maluch in her native Neapolitan). I use olive oil for just about everything, even when cooking Korean sometimes, and I buy most of those brands you listed. Maybe I should be more cognizant of what I'm buying, or press the bloody olives myself!

Baltimore1937
04-24-2015, 12:41 AM
No wonder that big (for me) bottle of Colavita was on sale. Maybe I'll try Napoleon next. I don't that brand on the lists.

later: I just looked at the label on my almost empty bottle of Colavita extra virgin olive oil. And it says "certified authentic" with a reference number, etc. Hmm...

Mamluk
04-24-2015, 02:58 AM
Although I'm extremely ill right now (food poisoning),

Sorry to hear about that


I consume loads of olive oil so I (along with my family) have been aware of this problem for ages.
Yes, us too! We use it for almost everything... During meals (usually Mediterranean-style breakfasts) we bring a bottle of it to the table. It's used for dipping bread or drizzling over bread, and pouring over hummus (garbanzo dip with tahini sesame paste), fūl (fava bean purée with lemon, and sometimes garlic) and labneh cream cheese.
We fry our eggs in it... And once in a while employ the "Spanish" way of frying an egg... deep-frying in olive oil--the egg retracts into itself and the periphery gets golden and crispy.


We live in Provence and since there's a law for everything here this problem has more or less been dealt with (most of the olive oil is local).

Lucky! Lately I've been getting very nostalgic about the Mediterranean countries... I really miss being there. My last trip to Provence was probably one of the best (most relaxing) times in my life.

So, the olivier we visited was called Moulin Mas Des Barres, outside of Avignon. I got to see the olive press in action, and sampled some first-press oil. I wasn't expecting to get "zapped" in the back of the throat with the "peppery" finish, the strongest I've tasted. It made my eyes water. I brought a liter back with me to the US.


(we do that for grape juice as well, my parents' house is literally surrounded by vineyards and olive trees).

Now I'm really missing it there. There is something magical about that part of the world--la joie de vivre.

As a child spending summers there (NW Jordan), I have fond memories of relatives having a reunion to completely harvest their grapes (not from orchards, just home gardens) in early September (right before I had to return home for school), and spend 1–2 days making juice. The juice was lightly strained, so that it was much like drinking a sweet green smoothie. And after a couple of glasses, and a sugar-high, I would pass out and sleep for a couple of hours in the garden. ... That's getting me wishing about taking a "leave of absence" with my family this summer.

In the USA we don't regularly experience la joie de vivre / la dolce vita... All we do is work, work, work, (like hamsters running in a wheel) so we can pay bills and the IRS.

Mamluk
04-24-2015, 03:10 AM
I wanted to also mention that during the grape harvest our relatives would also use that time to make vinegar. Vinegar was not something that was bought in a store--it used to be a homemade item.

Il Papà
04-24-2015, 04:37 AM
I buy this one on occasion. http://produit.bienmanger.com/185-0w0h0_Chateau_Virant_Huile_Olive_Chateau_Virant_Ao c_Aix_Provence.jpg


it's really the best olive oil I tried but my regular oil is the carapelli oil or the puget one(french brand).And I'm not really surprised about this since the european union if i'm not mistaken authorize 10% of other oil in legit Olive oil product .

rms2
04-24-2015, 11:41 AM
I was raised on butter (the real thing, not - gack! - margarine), and I guess my family originated in a butter-using culture; but, of course, butter isn't the best thing for the heart and arteries, which is why we switched over to olive oil. I do enjoy olive oil; it has a multitude of uses (it's even great rubbed on dry skin, especially in the winter), and it is tasty. But I do miss butter sometimes. Sigh!

Agamemnon
04-24-2015, 05:03 PM
I was raised on butter (the real thing, not - gack! - margarine), and I guess my family originated in a butter-using culture; but, of course, butter isn't the best thing for the heart and arteries, which is why we switched over to olive oil. I do enjoy olive oil; it has a multitude of uses (it's even great rubbed on dry skin, especially in the winter), and it is tasty. But I do miss butter sometimes. Sigh!

My mother also happens to be extremely fond of butter, she is British after all, but like you said it isn't exactly healthy (and her father died in his 50s because of that + eating a full english breakfast each morning)... Besides, her husband and her two sons are olive oil addicts, so that pretty much settles it :D


Sorry to hear about that

No worries, I'm already getting better. I've had this twice already, once in Turkey and another time here (lasted for two weeks). I appreciate your concern though ;)



Yes, us too! We use it for almost everything... During meals (usually Mediterranean-style breakfasts) we bring a bottle of it to the table. It's used for dipping bread or drizzling over bread, and pouring over hummus (garbanzo dip with tahini sesame paste), fūl (fava bean purée with lemon, and sometimes garlic) and labneh cream cheese.
We fry our eggs in it... And once in a while employ the "Spanish" way of frying an egg... deep-frying in olive oil--the egg retracts into itself and the periphery gets golden and crispy.

I often eat in a Lebanese restaurant which happens to be in the city I'm studying in, it isn't a stretch to say that Levantine cuisine has some of the best dishes in the world... As far as I'm concerned, nothing outranks it (even the Israelis have decided to take it up). We also fry eggs using what you call the "Spanish" method, we do it all the time here!



Lucky! Lately I've been getting very nostalgic about the Mediterranean countries... I really miss being there. My last trip to Provence was probably one of the best (most relaxing) times in my life.

So, the olivier we visited was called Moulin Mas Des Barres, outside of Avignon. I got to see the olive press in action, and sampled some first-press oil. I wasn't expecting to get "zapped" in the back of the throat with the "peppery" finish, the strongest I've tasted. It made my eyes water. I brought a liter back with me to the US.

Now I'm really missing it there. There is something magical about that part of the world--la joie de vivre.

As a child spending summers there (NW Jordan), I have fond memories of relatives having a reunion to completely harvest their grapes (not from orchards, just home gardens) in early September (right before I had to return home for school), and spend 1–2 days making juice. The juice was lightly strained, so that it was much like drinking a sweet green smoothie. And after a couple of glasses, and a sugar-high, I would pass out and sleep for a couple of hours in the garden. ... That's getting me wishing about taking a "leave of absence" with my family this summer.

In the USA we don't regularly experience la joie de vivre / la dolce vita... All we do is work, work, work, (like hamsters running in a wheel) so we can pay bills and the IRS.

Ah, you know my parents had British friends of theirs staying a couple of days ago... So we were basically having dinner outside, and we have this magnificent view here, it's quite hypnotic, and we kept talking until late at night. At some point, one of the guests looked at me and said "Agamemnon, listen to this, this is great, I will never forget this". Of course, for a split second I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about... And then I suddenly realised that he was referring to the crickets and the owls you can hear each night, and that's when I thought "I'm so accustomed to this I don't even realise it anymore". I didn't even grow up here, but I've already become accustomed to this kind of environment, that's how charming this place is (even though I miss my childhood next to Switzerland and would rather live there).

Le Moulin Des Barres is in the Alpilles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpilles), a beautiful place indeed! I've heard they had problems last year though, something to do with flies, at least that's what the local producers we know told us (they seemed happy about it, since there's some sort of rivalry going on).

John Doe
04-24-2015, 05:21 PM
My mother also happens to be extremely fond of butter, she is British after all, but like you said it isn't exactly healthy (and her father died in his 50s because of that + eating a full english breakfast each morning)... Besides, her husband and her two sons are olive oil addicts, so that pretty much settles it :D

When I visited my relatives in England, we had almost nothing to eat but toast with butter, tea and pork, almost nothing else. :-P

Mamluk
06-09-2015, 08:29 PM
I just came across this interesting article while reading some news: Sonsuzluk (Infinity) Olive Oil (http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/Default.aspx?pageID=238&nID=58233&NewsCatID=377)

Some interesting highlights mentioned in the article:


The Kumkaya village in Bursa’s Mudanya district is home to a traditional olive oil factory. Two sisters, Nazlıgül Ünal and Aslıhan Yıldırım, established the factory, which uses traditional equipment and a 300-year-old grinder to produce their oil.
...
The factory uses with an olive grinder dating back 300 years, but the real secret of their special olive oil taste is hidden in their special production technique, which dates back 6,000 years.
...
“The name of our olive oil is “XI.XI Sonsuzluk” (Infinity). “XI.XI means infinity in numerology,” she said.
...
Noting that olive trees are the only trees that are immortal on earth, Ünal said these trees therefore symbolized infinity. “We aim to produce our olive oil without using any metals and we do not use any kind of chemical medicine,” she said, adding that after the olives were collected they were transferred to the factory and immediately taken to the production process.
...
The olives are crushed with 300-year-old grinders, after which they are transferred to dark storage. The grinding and storage materials are historical and ancient, which Ünal said made the olive oil particularly distilled and pure.
...
Only 1,111 bottles of olive oil are produced per year on average, which is what makes the “XI.XI Sonsuzluk” olive oil a boutique product.

rock hunter
06-10-2015, 01:54 PM
Same with many foods these days and not just secretly either. They even put pulp dust in grating cheese to stop clumping they say but at times I would taste more wood then cheese so I grate my own.

In Panama 365 died from bad cough medicine, also from China Read it here
From China to Panama, a Trail of Poisoned Medicine
The kidneys fail first. Then the central nervous system begins to misfire. Paralysis spreads,,

http://www.pulitzer.org/archives/7758

And then the toothpaste scandal , the pet food scandal, the lead paint scandal and on and on ,,greed is everywhere .
________________________
Olive Oil Dipping Sauce

Take a shallow soup dish and add olive oil,grated cheese, garlic,salt ,pepper,basil and anything else you think might taste good then get a big crusty loaf of either Italian or French bread ,rip off chunks by hand and dip.

MikeWhalen
06-25-2015, 05:23 PM
and the crooks and thieves keep trying to rip off the consumer.

You would have thought after all the press attention to previous cases, the big Olive Oil manufacturers would get their act together...apparently, they have not been punished enough

yet more court cases for fraud

http://fortune.com/2015/06/24/olive-oil-brands-lawsuits/?xid=timehp-popular

Mike

Cinnamon orange
06-25-2015, 06:20 PM
Yuck, I have heard of this before but not the brand names and not industrial by products on occasion.....oh my....
I use standard olive oil for cooking as it has a higher burn point and try to limit the extra virgin for dressings and such.

5059

This is the one I am using at the mo. They had a range from different parts of Italy and I chose Bari. I try not to buy the cheapest and keep my other half from doing the same:/

Anyone know if Greek or Spanish olive oil has a better track record? I heard Spain had an olive oil glut a year or so ago, so maybe they do not need to dilute.....:(

MikeWhalen
06-25-2015, 07:33 PM
Cinnamon
I dont know if the EVOO you had in your pic is good, I understand that the genuinely contaminated EVOO come from or via Italy because it is a genuine Mob action.

One of the hints I heard for picking good ones is if its won a competition award in the last few years, there are several legit 'quality control' groups that certify Oil but I can never remember the list of them.... I also understand that many of the new world EVOO are very good and have no real history of cheating...several have won awards from south america and california

here are a few links to good ones

http://www.worldsbestoliveoils.org/worlds-best-olive-oils.html

http://extravirginity.com/2012/09/toms-supermarket-picks-quality-oils-good-prices

http://www.cooc.com/seal-certified-oils/2014-competition-winners/

Mike