Just like other products, there are some fake olive oil brands to avoid. This is because these oils do not meet the requirements of quality standards suitable for consumption. All other food-grade oils except olive oil and coconut oil need to be chemically processed to be suitable as edible oils. Olive Oil is one of the healthiest oils for consumption. But there is a high tendency for this Oil to be fake. Due to such scammed products, the olive oil industry is being corrupted. So, it is necessary to avoid fake olive oil brands and find the correct brand of pure olive oil.
List of Fake Olive Oil Brands
Low-quality olive oils can cause adverse health effects. Here is a list of fake olive oil brands to avoid when you buy at your local store.
- Mezzetta: There can be counterfeit products of this brand that has a horrible flavor. Even though there are no mislabeling accusations for this brand, it is necessary to purchase the product from a trusted supplier.
- Primadonna: Italy’s Antitrust Authority (AGCM) had fined this company with a charge of $679,000 for failing to meet the required qualifications of extra virgin olive oil.
- Carapelli: Even though this is a popular brand, it failed to succeed as Extra Virgin Olive Oil many times. The University of California and the Italian Authorities had investigated and found that this manufacturer had labeled low-quality olive oil as extra virgin olive oil.
- Pompeian: Consumers claim that this olive oil tastes bitter than it was in the past. They also claim to be having very little taste of extra virgin olive oil.
- Pietro Coricelli: This brand was found mislabeling its products by the Customs and Monopolies Agency in Rome. This was also investigated by the Anti-adulteration and Health Unit of the Carabinieri. It was identified as lower Virgin grade.
- Mazola: There are many negative reviews on the taste of this brand. However, they claim to deliver outstanding aroma and flavor in their extra virgin olive oil.
- Sasso: This was another brand that was discovered by the Italian media for alleged fraud in products. They have manufactured low-quality olive oil and was confirmed by laboratories.
- Bertolli: The accusation of this product was mislabeling their products as “Imported From Italy”. They also have had inquiries related to extra virgin labeling.
- Antica Badia: This was another brand identified as fraudulent by the Italian media and the Telegraph.
- Colavita: There are fraudulent copies of this brand sold, especially online, which has damaged the impression of customers. People also state that this does not have the original flavor of extra virgin olive oil.
Here are the other olive oil brands to avoid.
- Filippo Berio
- Whole Foods
Reasons to Avoid
The individual olive oil brands to avoid have special reasons as to why they have lost the trust of consumers. However, there are certain common issues with these brands.
- These brands dilute extra virgin olive oil with cheap Oil. They even mix it with lower-grade Olive Oil that has been refined chemically refined.
- They manufacture Oil using old, rotten, and inferior olives, which makes the taste bitter and flavorless.
- Before selling the Oil as extra virgin oil, it is perfumed, colored, and then flavored.
- Sometimes it is difficult to find the real source and from which country these olives are imported. It is necessary to know the source to avoid potential fake brands.
- Reduced or bargained prices on these oil brands might be due to being too cheap to be real olive oil.
Recommended Olive Oil Brands
It is necessary to pick the best products as olive oil is consumed as food. So, the following are some of the trustworthy brands of olive oil.
- California Olive Ranch
- Olea Estates
- Cobram Estate
How to Identify Fake Olive Oil?
Low-quality olive oil varieties are mislabeled and sold as extra virgin oils. Sometimes even sunflower oil or soy oil are also sold as olive oil. You can identify whether the olive Oil is fake by some methods. First, you need to check that the bottle is dark or tinted, as this is how correct olive oils are stored. Also, check for the ingredients on the label and find the third-party authenticity label. The harvest date and label should also be indicated on these labels. Do not get driven away by the fancy appearance of the bottle or label, as that is how fake brands hold on customers.
Easy Method to Check at Home
This is an easy method that you can use to check the purity of olive oil at home. Leave your bottle of olive oil in the refrigerator for 5 hours at a temperature of 0 ˚C. If the Oil starts to get solidified by that time, then it is pure olive oil, without any dilution. However, if the olive Oil remains liquid by this time, then it has been diluted with some cheap oils and not extra virgin oil. This test may not be a proper test, but useful to have a general idea about the quality of the olive oil.
How to Buy Real Olive Oil?
Always purchase only the Oil labeled extra virgin. This might not guarantee that the product is completely extra virgin. However, it would still be better than normal olive oil labeled otherwise, as they are mostly refined Oil.
The harvest date should be included in a high-quality oil. The harvest season is from October to December, and the oils arrive early in the new year. The Oil is best used within two years of harvest. So, when buying olive oil, do not choose Oil older than a year. This date of harvest is indicated on the bottle. If only the bottled date or the expiration date is indicated on the label, there is considerable ambiguity with the freshness of the product.
Olive Oil can be harmed by exposure to heat, sunlight, and oxygen. Storing bottles of olive Oil under bright fluorescent lights for many days can also create a negative impact on the condition of the Oil.
Oils can be prevented from degrading by storing them in dark glass bottles. But this would not completely protect the Oil from light. Sometimes the manufacturers provide a box or bag packing for the bottle, which further reduces the exposure to light. Such oil products are better for consumption.
“First Cold Pressing”
Extra virgin olive oil should be extracted from the first pressing. This is done at ambient temperatures around 80 ˚F, without any additional heat. So, if this phrase is indicated in the label, it shows that the product is ideal.
Usually, the oils are sourced from around 5 countries. There are some retailers and sellers who visit the mills and inspect the quality of products he purchases. If you have any such contacts, it would be ideal so that you can verify the product quality.
The California Olive Oil Council (COOC) is a non-profit organization that assesses the extra virginity of olive oils through a laboratory and a taste test. If a product is certified with this label, then you can guarantee its quality.
What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
Extra virgin olive oil is extracted from top-quality olives and is recommended as a food-grade oil. Typically this is the olive juice with a very light and sweet taste with a fruity scent. This Oil also has a natural olive taste and is used for cooking purposes. It is greenish-yellow in color and sometimes a golden green. The color might depend on the type of olives and the environment in which they were grown.
Olive Oil Grades
Olive Oil is categorized according to the level of acidity; when the acidity is less, the quality and the grade of oil increase.
- Extra virgin olive oil has an acidity of only 0.8% and has the best taste. This is less than 10% of Oil in most of the Oil manufacturing countries.
- Virgin olive oil has an acidity of less than 1.5% and also has a good flavor.
- Pure olive oil is a blend of refined olive oil and virgin Oil.
- Olive Oil has 2% acidity and does not have a distinct flavor.
- Pomace oil is refined olive oil blended with virgin Oil. It has a neutral flavor and has the same health benefits as regular olive oil. As it has a high smoke point, it is widely used for cooking in restaurants.
- Lampante oil is a category of olive oil that is not suitable for consumption. This is mostly used for oil-burning lamps and industrial use.
Environmental and Processing Factors
The best Oil comes from the best-grown fruits. The ideal fruits are harvested from healthy trees that grow in optimum environmental conditions.
The Mediterranean is the best climate for olives. Around 80% of Greek olive oil is Extra Virgin, About 45% of Italian and 30% of Spanish Oil is Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Olive trees need abundant sunlight for growth. The fruits and Oil get better when the trees are older. Since these trees need more space for growth, they are in more spacious groves. If the trees are grouped closely together, the trees would not have enough breathing space and affect the quality of the Oil.
The method of olive picking can also affect the quality of the Oil. Olives are usually picked using the traditional method where olives are hand-cut using a comb and let fall to a net below. Sometimes they are also taken by shaking the tree, which might reduce the quality of the fruits. Falling of these fruits to the ground and bruising would result in bitterness. Spain and California have larger groves of olive trees lined up so that the big harvesters can go through them in the season to pick olives. This is an effective method, but the quality of Oil may not be as good as those of handpicked ones.
After picking the olives, they are pressed. If there is even a single olive that has ripened earlier or rotten, it can decrease the quality of the whole batch of fresh olives. It would result in more acidic and acidic olive Oil. Therefore, olives should be pressed before they are overripe. So it is the best way to pick the olives in the morning, pack them into sacks and send them away for pressing in the afternoon of the same day.
Olive pressing also has different methods. The traditional method involves rotating stones where the olives are crushed into a paste between them. Then this olive paste is piled up in sheets and pressed with a heavyweight until the olive oil is extracted. The modern methods involve mixers to create the paste, and then the Oil is extracted using a centrifuge. Both these methods produce good quality olive oil.
In this pressing method, the paste is not heated beyond 27 ˚C. Cold-pressed olive is considered to be the best quality.
This is where the olive oil is extracted from a single press. This Oil is also considered to be of high quality. Even though the paste can be pressed many times to get more Oil, the quality of the olive oil would be reduced. Extra virgin olive oil is extracted from only the first press. Fake olive oil brands to avoid are mostly extracted from more pressing.
Finally, the olive oil is filtered, even though it is not essential. This is mostly for aesthetic reasons so that the Oil is visible with clarity inside the bottle. Unfiltered Oil would have residues at the bottom of the bottle and make it less appealing for the buyers. Even though unfiltered Oil is natural and does not have lower standards, most of the modern olive oil is filtered.
After pressing, the olive oil has a very strong taste and should be stored for about three months until the taste stabilizes. It should be stored away from sunlight and heat. A stainless steel tank is the most appropriate type to store this Oil. But most olive farmers can’t afford these tanks, and they use plastic tanks instead. This creates reactions with the Oil and reduces its quality.
Dark-colored glass or PET bottles are used for the packaging of olive oil and then covered with paper boxes or bags. This is to ensure that the Oil is not exposed to any light. They should also be stored in a cool, dry place away from sunlight.
Olive Oil would not go bad if stored under proper conditions. But it is recommended to use olive oil within two years of harvest.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
- Olive Oil: refined and filtered.
- Virgin Olive Oil: not refined and filtered.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: not refined and is less filtered.
Which olive oil has the most polyphenols?
Olivar Santamaria Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil has the highest levels of polyphenols and is very expensive. This olive oil has a bright green shade and a unique peppery taste due to the polyphenols.
What is the difference between virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil?
Extra virgin olive oil is the least processed type, which is not chemically filtered or thermally treated. Hence it contains more antioxidants and less acidity. It has the best taste in nutritious oil varieties. Virgin olive oil is made with riper olives and processed more. So, it has more acidity and low quality than the previous type.
Is cold-pressed olive Oil better?
Cold-pressed olive oil is always better as it is the first pressing of Oil and has not undergone any chemical or thermal treatment. Therefore, it is the purest Oil in the most natural state, with high nutrition levels.
How can you tell if olive oil is pure?
You can identify with the taste. If it tastes good, then the Oil is most likely to be pure. If it tastes acidic, greasy, or flavorless, then there is a higher probability that the Oil is not pure.
Is most olive oil fake?
Over 80% of olive oil in the market is considerably fake. Even though they have labeled themselves as Virgin or Extra Virgin, they are mostly misleading the consumers.
This is a complete guide on fake olive brands to avoid all the required knowledge on olive oil extraction. Knowing all these details can help you find the best brand of olive Oil suitable for consumption. Follow the provided tips when buying since fake olive oil brands can affect health in various ways. Buying bad olive oil brands can also waste the money that you should have spent purchasing the real extra virgin olive oil.