Several years ago I contacted the FBI (Norwegian NRK Consumer Inspectors, a popular NRK TV show helping consumers) and I suggested they do a test of Extra-Virgin Olive-Oil
They often test and compare consumer products, but I never saw anything on Olive Oil.
I assumed most of the cheap oil available was NOT real Extra Virgin.
How did I know?
Some of the oils gave me headache.
My head happen to be far more sensitive than most laboratories. If I consume something fake, I get a headache. It is a blessing and a curse.
After I provided some relevant data, FBI took my suggestion seriously, and after a good work they aired a show on 14-01-2015 .
They tested 7 different bottles of Extra-Virgin Olive-Oil
available on the shelves of most common chains of food stores in Norway.
One can assume that brands tested account for at least 90% of Extra-Virgin Olive-Oil
sale in Norway.
5 out of 7 bottles failed the test and are not real Extra Virgin.
They also interviewed an Olive-Oil
expert, Alberto Grimelli, and Alberto told them exactly the same thing: at least 50% of Extra Virgin Olive-Oil
sold in Norway and other similar countries (countries that import oil, have no own production) is not pure real Extra-Virgin
It may be poor quality olives giving poor quality oil.
It may be chemicals added to olive oil to improve color, smell and taste.
It may be refined olive oil (lamp oil as he calls it) mixed with Extra Virgin.
It may be sunflower or soy oil mixed with Extra Virgin.
It may be old oil or old olives exposed to air or light.
Funny: Alberto Grimelli does not consider refined olive oil suitable for human consumption and calls it "lamp oil". It means it is good for burning but not for eating.
How to know if the oil is true Extra Virgin?
Read the label!
If there is a name and a phone number of a small farm that produced oil listed on the label, it most likely is true Extra Virgin.
Farms would not risk reputation and their name.
If there is just a name of bottling or distributing company, no farm name, it just may be fake.
Also, the cheaper the oil, the higher chances of it being
Expensive brands are less likely to risk their reputation and their name, and in the same time money you pay is more than enough to insure oil indeed is the first class.
Extra Virgin Olive-Oil
is far more expensive than non-Virgin Olive Oil, and even more expensive than sunflower or soy oil.
Some bad people have found out that they can mix Extra Virgin Olive-Oil
with other much cheaper oils, and sell it like more expensive Extra-Virgin
A lot of profit to make.
And, you or me can not easily taste the difference.
Europol have confiscated tons of oils marked Extra Virgin, but in reality, it was not Extra Virgin.
Big companies in Italy and europe and big distributors were actually involved!
Norwegian Consumer Inspectors used Eurofins.
Eurofins sent oils to Germany.
5 of 7 did not pass the test.
All 7 oils analyzed were Olive Oil.
No other oils or chemicals detected.
But, only 2 of 7 were good enough to have label "Extra Virgin".
Monini and Jamie Oliver passed the test and can be called real Extra Virgin.
NRK FBI TV Show 14-01-2015:
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