5 Tips to Avoid Buying Fake Olive Oil

There are many extra virgin olive oils out there that are downright frauds. In fact, the majority of olive oils on your supermarket shelf don’t deserve the title of “extra virgin.” It’s no secret what a beneficial food olive oil is with its healthy fats and supremely high quantities of natural antioxidants. But, many extra-virgin olive oils can’t boast these benefits due to contamination, rancidity, poor manufacturing, and corner-cutting. Use these 5 checkpoints to help you determine which oils are the real deal and which are impostors.    

Price. A good way to start buying quality EVOO is by looking at the price. Although it’s always tempting to save a few bucks, olive oils that are less than $10 per 500mL are more likely to be frauds than your $15, $20, or dare I say, $40 oils. Some cheaper olive oils are cut with low-quality olive oil or even other vegetable oils to enhance profit margins. So, if the price looks too good to be true, it probably is. That being said, there is no guarantee that a $40 oil is 100% authentic or not rancid, but your odds are better if you stay above the $10 mark.  

Bottle. Never, absolutely never ever should you buy olive oil in a plastic bottle — BPAs, oxidation, rancidity, you name it. Quality olive oil must be stored in tinted glass to reduce the chance of oxidation by harsh sunlight. No tinted glass, it’s not worth your cash. Oxidation causes the fragile antioxidants inside the oil to destruct and leads to rancidity, which doesn’t taste so great.    

Date. If a bottle of quality extra virgin olive oil isn’t used within 2 years of harvest, it goes rancid. Check the harvest date on the bottle, or at the very least the ‘best by’ date. Make sure it is no older than 12-18 months, especially if you plan on storing it for a few months. Olive oil is essentially the freshly squeezed juice of the olive fruit. You wouldn’t drink old fruit juice, so why would you consume old olive oil? As always, the fresher the oil is, the more health benefits it can offer.   

Origin. Imported extra virgin olive oil is more likely to be impure than Californian varieties. 69% of foreign olive oils tested failed to meet the EVOO standards, which used sensory as well as chemical tests to determine an olive oil’s quality. Only 10% of Californian oils flunked. Among the falsely labeled “extra virgins” included the popular brands Colavita, Filippo Berio, and Bertolli.  

Taste. If an oil tastes slightly rancid or fusty, it’s no good. A poor flavor means it could have been produced from damaged or overripe olives, was exposed to improper storage conditions, or was adulterated with cheaper oils, olive or otherwise. If your palate isn’t pleased, something is probably amiss.

Educate yourself and find a brand of extra virgin olive you can trust. California oils are homegrown, so they’re most likely to be of a fresher, higher quality than many imported oils. Plus, you’ll be supporting US olive growers!  

What brands of extra virgin olive oil do you prefer?  

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253 comments

Stephanie s
Stephanie Y5 months ago

Thank you

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Stephanie s
Stephanie Y5 months ago

Thank you

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W. C
W. C7 months ago

Thank you.

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William C
William C7 months ago

Thanks.

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Michael F
Michael Friedmann7 months ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Mark T
Mark T8 months ago

Ty.

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Sonia Minwer Barakat Requ
Sonia M8 months ago

I live in Spain,I know how to buy olive oil and I like it.Some good tips and advices thanks for sharing

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Paola S
Past Member 9 months ago

thank you

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Magdalena C.
Past Member 3 years ago

Thank you!

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Jane R.
Jane R3 years ago

Good information. I hope I can remember it the next time I buy some. I very seldom use it so I think I need to throw out what I have on hand.

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