Depending on a variety of conditions, a typical olive tree has a yield of 20% – which means that ten kilos of olives are needed to extract just two litres of pure olive oil at first press.
It is of no wonder that dilution and adulteration of this precious substance has been happening since Roman times..
The Romans enforced strict regulations and carried out random spotchecks on all olive oil producers within their Empire. This practise was actually far more advanced than the current EU which has deemed correct labeling as being a voluntary exercise, as well as that an olive oil can still be labeled as Italian, Spanish or Greek – even though it might contain only a tiny amount of oil from the advertised country!
So – is there olive in your olive oil?
Several laboratory checks and police operations have more than once found soy, rapeseed, walnut, palm, and fish oils (amongst others) in substantial quantities in various brands claiming to be ‘extra-virgin’. To explore the health risks associated with seed-oils, browse the ‘Artificial Fats section’ in this separate article (opens in a new tab).
The most notable study was carried out by the UC-Davis Olive Centre, California which concluded that the following brands were incorrectly labeled as ‘Extra Virgin Olive Oils’:
- Filippo Berio
- Newman’s Own
- Rachel Ray
- Whole Foods
Worse still, there are some brands such as ‘Pomace’ (a firm registered in Spain) which chemically treat olive remnants after the third pressing – only to sell this chemical goop as olive oil!
Such culinary criminals do not get widely publicized, for the simple reason that the olive oil industry is big business – which rakes in 700 million $ annually from North American markets alone..
Choosing the right olive oil…
> Source your oil from local and small enterprises – if you’re lucky enough to live close to rural areas you can go ‘straight to the source’
> Search for Organic Certification or ‘IOOC’ (International Olive Oil Council) stamps on the product label
> Opt for the darker and stronger tasting varieties
To assist our international visitors (especially those in colder climates!) we have collaborated with local farmers and producers to serve a truly authentic Mediterranean Olive Oil, for more information follow the link on: