Last night 60 Minutes aired a piece on the "Agromafia" about the faux olive oil market. We found out that about half or more of the "olive oils" sold are fake. Eeks! And, that the black market for olive oil sometimes has better margins than the cocaine market. Double eeks!!
So, the fact that these olive oil mobsters are lying to us is enough to want to pull my hair out. But, even more, many of us who purchase EVOO are hoping to get the touted health benefits of EVOO (real EVOO can make our blood vessels more flexible - less rigid - and may have anti-inflammatory properties - much like ibuprofen or aspirin).
In general, some guidance for doing your best to choose an authentic oil:
- Dark Bottle: EVOO should be in a dark colored bottle. The oil should not be in a clear bottle. Since olive oil is really 100% fruit juice, it will go rancid when light hits it.
- Price Tag: you get what you pay for, and you can be fairly certain you're getting fakey oil if it is the cheapest. Sorry. :-/
- City or Region: The bottle gives the name of the region or city that the olives were harvested from.
- Domestic Oils: California olive oils might be more likely authentic with potentially stricter regulation.
- Buy Direct: You'll see below that you can purchase directly from some producers. You're cutting out the potentially devious middleman/woman.
Well, you asked for it. I made a list of olive oils that I hope are pure. Unfortunately, and honestly, I must admit that I canNOT 110% guarantee that these oils are pure and this is NOT an exhaustive list (I'm certain there are other good quality olive oils out there). I researched other blogs, visited the olive oil companies' websites, and just used some gut instinct (my best educated guess). I'm a consumer like you all, so I'm doing the best I can, too! If you know of a good quality olive oil or you produce one, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me about it!
- Trader Joe’s (2 look good): 1) 100% Greek Kalamata; 2) California Estate
- Whole Foods California 365 - They state on their website they have a "full traceability program" for their oils
- Costco “Kirkland” Organic - USDA Certified Organic
- UC Davis – They sell olive oil!
- Olea Estates 100% EVOO
- Bariani Olive Oil
- Lucero (Ascolano)
- California Olive Ranch
- Corto Olive
- O-Live - their site has a store locator to see where it's sold
- Chaffin Family Orchards
- Euphoria Olive Oil
- Seggiano Artisinal Foods EVOO - They have some listed by region
- Jovial Foods Olive Oil