"69% of imported olive oil samples and 10% of California olive oil samples labeled as extra virgin olive oil failed to meet the IOC/USDA sensory (organoleptic) standards for extra virgin olive oil.The researchers at UCDavis Olive Center who conducted this analysis are probably happy to see California olive oils fare so well in comparison to imported oils. Indeed, makers of 2 domestic brands, Corto Olive and California Olive Ranch, not only helped fund the analysis but achieved high scores for their oils. At least the possible bias here is transparent.
Our chemical testing indicated that the samples failed extra virgin standards for reasons that include one or more of the following:
- Oxidation by exposure to elevated temperatures, light, and/or aging
- Adulteration with cheaper refined olive oil
- Poor quality oil made from damaged and overripe olives, processing flaws, and/or improper oil storage"
Still, there's some revealing compare/contrast data among the imported brands they (and blinded researchers in Australia) tested:
Some of these oils run over $20 for a 16 ounce bottle. These aren't rank-and-file olive oils. Unfortunately, spending less can result in a bottle of olive oil that's really hazelnut or canola oil with, if the buyer is lucky, a splash of olive, as I've read. Corruption in the global olive oil trade is rampant.
Related post: Adulteration And Corruption In The Olive Oil Trade
The photo is mine, of what I thought was an "extra virgin" olive oil, but what UCDavis says is, in many respects, just "virgin." It's Colavita.