Corning olive oil producer: "Quality fraud runs rampant in olive oil industry"

Apr 19, 2016 1:17 PM by News Staff

The imported olive oil that you buy from the stores may not be of the highest quality.

Counterfeit olive oil is a growing problem in the world, and the United States is no exception.

"(Fraud happens when) things that growers know but maybe consumers weren't exposed to," said Liz Tagami, general manager of Lucero Olive Oil Company.

In a 2010 study, UC Davis found that 70 percent of the extra virgin olive oil in California’s stores did not meet the international nor the American standards.

According to research, adulterated olive oil has flooded the foreign and domestic markets in recent years.

"It’s just fraud, you pay extra money for something you think its highest quality and you’re being cheated," Tagami said.

In Corning, the olive capital, local olive farms like Lucero Olive Oil are working to ensure that consumers get the highest quality products.

"It affects us because it brings up questions (about the industry)," Tagami said.

The state of California passed a law in 2014 to establish stricter laws on the labeling and classification of olive oil.

"This standard is higher than international standard in Madrid, higher than USDA,” Tagami said. “Even higher than some of the other trade organizations that have been around. This standard means that you have to do extra chemical testing that are the new 21st century methods.”

There are seals emblazoned on these bottles that go through the more rigorous testing standard so consumers can confidently identify a good quality product.

The Olive Oil Commission of California Seal and the Extra Virgin Alliance guarantee that you're getting an extra virgin olive oil.

There are also other tests you can perform at home to know if you have a good oil or if it has gone stale.

"If you start to smell things like crayons or nail polish or old walnuts or old potato chips, those are the smells of rancidity or decay of some sort," Tagami said.


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