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A Buyer's Beware On Olive Oil? You should get what you are paying for.

A few years ago my husband and I had an opportunity to travel to Italy. We were able to travel to many different cities and see many different sites. One of our favorite days was in the hills outside Sorrento. We had a tour of a small, family-owned olive oil 'factory'. The making of the olive oil was so interesting. We were able to watch as the huge containers of freshly picked olives were dumped into water, rinsed by conveyor, and put into a vat to separate stems and debris. They were then crushed and the pits were removed and ultimately the most beautiful, pure, and delicious olive oil was produced. We were able to watch the entire process at the end I was handed my own bottle of fresh, real Italian olive oil. I was also given a label to create my own ‘brand’ of olive oil. Wonderful pure healthy olive oil.

Olive oil has many health benefits. Studies show olive oil can target cancer cells. It can help with skin and breast cancer. It reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes. It can help prevent stroke, keeps the heart young and fights osteoporosis, and can help with depression and Alzheimer’s. Healthy fats are important in our diets. Now the bad news...the beautifully packaged bottles you are buying might not be real olive oil. It may be a blend of sub-standard nut oils, vegetable oil, GMO soybean oil, and contain foreign chemicals, solvents and other potentially harmful ingredients. In January of this year 60 Minutes aired a program about how the Mafia has infiltrated the food industry - especially the olive oil business. According to Tom Mueller, the investigative author of Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, 70 percent of the extra virgin olive oil sold worldwide is watered down with other oils and enhancers making them far from virgin. Virgin is the pure form of olive oil that is cold first-pressed extra virgin olive oil. Manufacturers who sell genetically engineered oils are not representing themselves accurately. Mueller exposes the billion dollar industry, showing how EVOO is tainted across the globe. When Australian researchers went and tested Olive Oil from suppliers in 2012 every brand submitted failed the tests and none of them were certified as pure. This is such a sad situation because pure (and organic) olive oil is an extremely healthy addition to your diet and I know we use what we think is extra virgin olive oil and many times we are being deceived. It is really hard to know if you are receiving pure olive oil. The best you can do is know the source. If you are a Costco patron, I understand their Kirkland brand has tested very well. There are third-party verified oils as well. If you like to order through the internet, “Fresh Pressed Olive Oil” is a company who takes their olive oil seriously. What To Look For When Purchasing EVOO: Be wary of any EVOO that costs less that $10 a liter

Look on the label for a harvesting date

Look for a seal from the International Olive Oil Council (IOC)

Shop for oils in dark bottles. Dark bottles protect any oil from oxidation

If the label states light, pure, or a blend then it is not EVOO I know this sounds shocking. This scam is widespread and therefore hard to stop because the counterfeiting of olive oil yields a higher profit margin than cocaine smuggling with much less risk. Just beware of what you buy.

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