Dr Oz: Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Consumer Fraud & Spotting Fakes

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Dr Oz: Fake Extra Virgin Olive Oil

There is one product that Dr Oz wants in everyone kitchen: extra virgin olive oil. But what he learned is that what you may actually be getting when you think you’re buying extra virgin olive oil, is a fake. Dr Oz had investigative reporter Elisabeth Leamy look into the issue of fake extra virgin olive oil.

Elisabeth explained that extra virgin olive oil is supposed to be made from perfectly ripe olives, picked and pressed without using any heat and chemicals, which is what makes it the healthiest, but also the priciest. Elisabeth said that’s probably why more than two-thirds of the bottles they found at a typical grocery store were labeled extra virgin.

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Dr Oz: Olive Oil Consumer Fraud

Dr Oz: Extra Virgin Olive Oil + Consumer Fraud & Spotting Fakes

Dr Oz explained how to spot real vs fake extra virgin olive oil and what brands you can trust to give you the real thing. (flickr)

Sally Greenberg, the executive director for the National Consumers League, shared that there’s been a lot of consumer fraud with extra virgin olive oil. They picked bottles off the shelf and sent them off for testing to see if the bottles labeled extra virgin were the real thing. The National Consumers League bought eleven oils and tested one bottle of each at a certified lab to test their chemical composition and flavor profile, to see if they were really extra virgin or something less.

The expert taste test showed that five of the bottles were extra virgin, the top grade with a perfect flavor profile without any deterioration at all. The lab reported six of them were not extra virgin, with two of those being the next level down, just virgin, and the tasters described the flavor as “muddy.” The last four bottles were labeled as ordinary and some of them were even rancid.

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Dr Oz: Reliable Olive Oil Brands

As for which brands actually passed the test, Elisabeth Leamy joined Dr Oz and shared that those five brands are:

  • California Olive Ranch
  • Colavita
  • Lucini Premium Select
  • Trader Joe’s California Estate
  • Trader Joe’s 100% Italian Organic

Elisabeth explained that the other bottles failed an elaborate, professional taste test, but it is known that taste can be subjective. She also pointed out that they only tested one bottle of each olive oil, so further testing would be required before they name names. She had Dr Oz taste two different olive oils to try to determine which was the best extra virgin olive oil. Dr Oz said he could taste a difference, saying that one was a bit peppery while the other was bland.

Dr Oz: Extra Virgin Olive Oil & Your Health

Dr Oz welcomed Dr Mary Flynn, an associate professor of medicine at Brown University, whose main mission is to educate the public on the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil. She has seen big health improvements with patients on a plant-based olive oil diet and shared that olive oil is “liquid gold” if you consume two tablespoons of it per day.

Mary said sometimes companies will cut their olive oil with vegetable seed oils like soybean oil or canola oil. They don’t have the same health benefits as extra virgin olive oil and they’re higher is polyunsaturated fats, making them less healthy.

Dr Oz: How To Spot Good Olive Oil

Dr Oz contacted the North American Olive Oil Association asking for a comment and they said, “The overwhelming majority of olive oils for sale in the U.S. are authentic, quality olive oils that are properly labeled.” Elisabeth said their results have tended to differ from those of independent third parties, which is why it’s a good idea for outsiders to take a look at what they’re buying.

When shopping for extra virgin olive oil, Elisabeth suggested looking for an oil that has a best by date that is at least 18 months to two years out. You should also look for small, dark containers, and store it in a cool, dark place. Finally, California has developed some of the most strict olive oil regulations in the world, so you could look for olive oils made in California.

Were you aware of fake extra virgin olive oils? Will you pay closer attention now when shopping for oil?

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