Do you know what to look for when you buy good olive oil from a store?
We live in very exciting times. Never before have we had so many choices related to our lives and more specifically to our food choices.
The power of the global marketplace has made seasonal foods available year round and made exotic foods more commonplace.
This explosion of choices, while stimulating and wonderful, can also be overwhelming, especially when it comes to food.
As evidenced by, not only the horrible health rates here in the U.S but also by the fact that we seem to export obesity to other countries where it was unbeknownst to them previously, it’s safe to say that most of Americans and food do not have a great relationship.
What to look for on olive oil labels
It is imperative to remember to look at labels and even do some research before buying most items at the grocery store. Stores and distributors place the most value on their bottom line, not on the quality of the food.
If it sounds crazy that our FDA or Whole Foods value quantity of dollars overall quality produces, look no further than the 2012 study released by UC Davis which found 69% of olive oil to be rancid or adulterated.
60 Minutes ran an investigative piece in 2016 about the fact that because we don’t have label laws in this country, we import $16 Billion worth of FAKE olive oil from Italy alone!
I know that every day it seems there is a new product you have to watch out for – whether it’s honey, spinach or milk or olive oil or balsamic vinegar – all require a certain knowledge to know how to buy the real thing.
Fortunately, you can find some tips below to help you navigate the shady isles of the grocery store.
Be a SMART CONSUMER
Olive oil should never be in a clear bottle. Sitting on a grocery store shelf for 72 hours will degrade the oil.
Look for a Harvest Date. This is where to start. Extra Virgin, First Cold Pressed, Organic, are all important, but if the oil is rotten/rancid, none of those things matter. Find the Harvest Date, you want to consume it no more than 3 years from the date. No harvest date, don’t buy it.
Look for COOC Seal: the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) requires a lab analysis and a taste analysis to determine extra virginity.
Look for country of origin. If you live in the United States, California oil is your best bet. If you’re in Italy, get Italian olive oil. Olive oil does not travel well and is a special product from its domain of origin.
Look for production information. Do the olives come from an estate, from a region or from multiple countries? If you see a bottle that says, “product of Tunisia, Greece, Spain or Portugal” do NOT buy it. A good olive oil can be made from olives within the same region, but not from multiple countries.
- Olive oil has 0 trans fats. If there are trans fats listed on your label, that bottle has been cut with canola oil or some other nasty oil with trans fats – stay away!
Stay healthy, Friends!