That EVOO may have lost its extra virginity

That EVOO may have lost its extra virginity

Unclean? Unclear (Image: Monica Arellano-Ongpin)

The Post reports that as demand for olive oil grows around the world, producers are mixing different kinds of cheap oil and calling it extra-virgin to take advantage of customers. “Olive oil is a commodity that can easily be diluted or substituted with cheaper oil,” said a spokesperson for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency last summer. “The presence of other oils in olive oil cannot be detected by visual inspection, and therefore consumers rely on the labelling.”

Three Canadian importers and distributors—Emma, Casa Italia and Cortina Foods—were convicted last year of selling olive oil that was diluted with a high percentage of cheap sunflower oil. Under Canadian legislation, extra-virgin olive oil has to be made entirely from the oil of olives harvested from olive trees. To qualify for extra-virgin status, the fat content and acidity levels are measured. The taste, smell, colour and texture are also tested by a panel of experts. The same is true in the EU, where food purity and certification are taken very seriously.

Before rummaging through our pantry in search of unchaste oil, we may have to submit an application to be an EU EVOO taster.

• Just how pure is that extra-virgin olive oil in your kitchen? [National Post]