Olive oil is healthy, and most of it is fake.

Its feel good qualities include:

  • Moisturizing skin
  • Reducing under eye wrinkles
  • Massaging a dry scalp
  • Helping split ends

Those are nice, but the benefits are greater when it is ingested.  

Eat it for health qualities:

  • Adding good fats
  • Reducing signs of aging
  • Fighting cancer

People who eat a Mediterranean diet enjoy these qualities, and Science hasn’t determined if it is the diet itself, or the other lifestyle choices that aid health.

The Mediterranean diet includes eating lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes and olive oil. It also favors lean sources of protein like chicken or fish over red meat, which contains more saturated fat.

When a product has healthy benefits and a moderate price tag, it is likely to be undercut with a lesser product. Most olive oil used today is undercut with a cheaper oil, usually canola or sunflower, and the health benefits are reduced.

How much do we use?

The International Olive Council releases new stats about its use. Ten years ago 16% of the 113,000 tons of olive oil imported to the United States was in bulk containers. This past year more than 43% of the 331,368 tons were in bulk containers.

Source: Olive Oil Times

World wide consumption is on the rise too.

Main suppliers are Italy, Spain, Greece and Tunisia. The California Olive Ranch is America’s largest olive oil producer. The Olive Oil Times says Americans consume more than 300,000 tons of olive oil annually, but less than 5% is made here.

The USDA standards are voluntary. Only two olive oil companies participate in the quality monitoring program as of 2012.

The FDA standards follow one rule basic rule. If other oils are used they must be indicated on the label.

What else is on the label?

On the label you will also find “first pressed”, “cold pressed”, and “extra virgin”.

What’s the difference?

“First pressed”: the fruit of the olive was pressed one time.

“Cold pressed”: the temperature of the fruit at the time it is crushed, under 27° C/80.6°F.

“Extra virgin”: the designation given to olive oil both “first” and “cold” pressed.

 

A University of California study tested 124 brands of extra virgin olive oil and found 70% of the product in the US is fake, or undercut with cheaper oil.

Brands that passed the test:

– California Olive Ranch

– Cobram Estate

– Lucini

– Kirkland Organic

– Lucero (Ascolano)

– McEvoy Ranch Organic

– Bariani Olive Oil

– Corto Olive

– Ottavio

– Omaggio

– Olea Estates 100% extra virgin olive oil

 

Brands that failed the test:

– Bertolli

– Carapelli

– Colavita

– Star

– Pompeian

– Santa Sabina

– Primadonna

– Antica Badia

– Sasso

– Coricelli

 

What smells?

 

It might be your olive oil.

 

Tips to determine if olive oil is bad, courtesy of the Olive Oil Times:

  1. Rancid: If it smells like crayons, tastes like rancid nuts, or has a greasy in your mouth feel it could be rancid.
  2. Fusty: If it smells stale, damp, dusty, like used gym socks, it’s probably bad.
  3. Moldy olives: If it tastes dusty or musty it was probably made with moldy olives.
  4. Vinegar flavor: If it has a vinegar flavor the olives used to make it were probably fermented with oxygen.

Tips to increase the longevity of olive oil:

  1. Store it in a cool place.
  2. Store it away from light
  3. Store it in an airtight container
  4. Use extra virgin oils within a year, others within months

Here’s a news flash:

Olive oil is meant to be used as a topping or dressing and breaks down at high temperatures.

[clickToTweet tweet=”Quit cooking with olive oil. It breaks down at the smoke point, between 375-420°F (190-215°C).” quote=”Quit cooking with olive oil. It breaks down at the smoke point, between 375-420°F (190-215°C).”]

Tweet that.

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Helpful sources:

Dr. Mercola

FDA Report