How to Buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil in The U.S.

How to Buy Extra Virgin Olive Oil in The U.S.
On Jan. 3, 2016 CBS News 60 Minutes aired an exposé on adulteration and quality issues affecting Italian olive oil. According to the show fake/adulterated olive oil production in Italy is big business for the mafia. Fake oil is made using a less expensive, readily available seed oil (like sunflower) as the base and then adding some chlorophyll to give it color and beta-carotene to give it some ‘fruitiness’.  Here are our four takeaways from the program on how to buy extra virgin olive oil in the United States:

Label: Take a closer look! Don’t fall for a ‘made in Italy’ tag because that could very well mean ‘packaged in Italy’. Check for the name and location of the company that produced it. It may be worth your while to find one that is based in the olive-growing regions of Italy. 

Date of production:  “Olive oil is fruit juice – they are from the same family as cherries and plums; would you (consume) two or three-year-old fruit juice? No! Probably not! So why would you consume rancid extra virgin olive oil?” rationalizes Guy Campanile, the 60 minutes producer who visited Italy to uncover the Italian olive oil scam. 

Find good quality closer to home: If you’re looking for truly fresh, great quality extra virgin olive oil, then you would be better served looking close to home in the Golden State. Campanile says, “(There are some) Wonderful olive oils made in California that are top-notch because they are fresh; they are made here!”

According to the California Olive Oil Council website, “As much as 80 % of the oil exported to the U.S. is fraudulent and mislabeled according to high ranking officials in Italy. The criminal intent is pervasive and difficult to control.” COOC stands by its stringent Seal Certification Program and long-established sensory panel. So look for the COOC seal when purchasing extra virgin olive oil because it is your guarantee for quality and a 100% California grown product.

Price: Consider the tag! “If you are paying seven or eight bucks for Italian extra virgin olive oil, (then) it’s probably not extra virgin olive oil,” Campanile explains!

Find out everything you need to know about our Olio Nuovo (or 'new oil') here.


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