Olive Oil – Real or Fake – Who Decides?

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The evidence is overwhelming – Real extra virgin olive oil not only enhances the taste of food but is good for you, consider the following headlines:

Olive oil ‘acts like painkiller’ – BBC Mediterranean Diet Adds Years to Your Life (high intake of … olive oil) – MedicalNewsToday.com Oleic Acid Key to Olive Oil’s Anti-Cancer Effect – Reuters.com

However, there is a dark side – fraud in the olive oil marketplace:

Olive oil’s slippery supply line – denverpost.com Extra Virgin Olive Oil – Are You Getting What You Pay For? – ABC News 7Online “A clear case of fraud ….. almost all of the virgin and extra virgin olive oil produced by large commercial Italian olive oil plants” Italianfood.about.com “of 73 olive oils … in the U.S. Only 4 per cent were pure olive oil. The rest were adulterated” – New York Times

The health benefits of extra virgin olive oil only apply to real extra virgin olive oil and not to fraudulently mislabeled products.

As most olive oil consumers know, the price of real Comprar aceite de oliva  extra virgin olive oil has risen dramatically. At the same time the quality of the products being offered has deteriorated dramatically. Logic would dictate that a significant percentage of olive oil consumers would prefer real extra virgin olive oil instead of the over-priced, mislabeled and adulterated products that have flooded the market.

However the olive oil consumer’s freedom to choose their product is limited to what is actually offered.
Food importers, distributors. brokers and retailers essentially decide between two types of products when it comes to the distribution of olive oil: A) A cheap mixed product or B) Real extra virgin olive oil:

A) Mixed products have no guarantee of quality, the paperwork may say ‘extra virgin olive oil’ but what is in the bottle is pomace, canola or some other cheap refined oil. Mixed products have no quality stated or implied, they are entirely price sensitive. So the distributor, broker, importer or retailer needs to constantly offer either the cheapest product or be very close to it for fear that at some point their supply will disappear and they will be undersold due to the market realities of working with this type of product.