A recent UC Davis study has found that many imported “extra virgin” olive oils fail international (and US) standards. The report was conducted by Dr. Edwin N. Frankel, Dr. Rodney G. Mailer, Dr. Charles F. Shoemaker, Sr. Selina C. Wang and Dan Flynn. They tested the quality of “EVOO’s” in the shelves of California supermarkets at two different laboratories using methods approved by both the IOC and the USDA. They found that many of those so called “Extra Virgins” failed tests for standards in different areas including:
- Oxidation by exposure to elevated temperatures, light and/or ageing
- Adulteration with cheaper refined olive oil
- Poor quality oil made from damaged or over ripe olives, processing flaws, and/or improper oil storage
The results (and I am including only USDA standards, the German standards brought in higher failure rates):
- 69% of imported olive oil samples labeled as EVOO failed to meet standards for EVOO
- 31% failed standards for UV absorbance
The study only included 14 samples of “EVOO” found in California supermarkets. Is this an accurate count? Possibly not, but I have a feeling that if they took a greater sampling, the results would be just as shocking. Now, how do we get our hands on that list?
UPDATE: California restaurateurs have filed suit with the Orange County Superior Court against the following brands for fraud and misrepresentation including Bertolli, Filippo Berio, Carapelli, Star, Colavita, Mezzetta, Pompeian, Rachael Ray, Mazolla and Safeway Select.