I was researching diseases ravaging olive trees and therefore destroying the beauty of olive oil, so there is a fly which stings developing olive fruit and injects the larvae to it. There is also an extremely serious bacteria, Xylella fastidiosa, spreading havoc in Italian olive fields but what terrified me the most was what is actually happening to this beautiful industry through illegal and very often dangerous practices in faking the oil.
80% of the extra virgin olive oil on the shelves is fake!!! I couldn't believe this so I changed my research and dived into it. What I found made me sick to my core. I tell you why? We love what we do, we put every bit of our heart into caring for our trees and then for our oil, and it makes me upset to know that some people will destroy this amazing product just to load their pockets with money. But hey, this has been going on for centuries, today's criminals are not that smart, they didn't come up with that themselves, they just carried on what has been happening for a very long time.
"Olive oil fraud has been around for thousands of years. Cuneiform tablets found in Ebla testify to royal inspectors visiting olive mills to monitor olive oil production. Even in Homer's day, EVOO was treated like "liquid gold.""-By Michael Summers
Nevertheless in my opinion it destroys Olive Oil market more than all the diseases combined.
One of the arguments I hear over and over again is "we need a cheaper oil options" and I just shake my head in disbelieve as this cheap oil on the supermarket shelves in majority is not a REAL THING!! So you say you are happy with spending your money on a fake just so you can say that you use olive oil, that you leave healthier life because you use olive oil? When in reality you are using either a mixture of different vegetable oils with some olive oil or you are actually using vegetable oil of some sort just colored and flavored with a hint of something what supposedly is made to taste like olive oil. It boggles my mind!!!
I have read so much about it recently that it just makes me speechless on how much we already uncovered and how much we know but it still goes on, not only that it accelerates. The blame is placed on complicit governments, criminals themselves of course but I think the biggest issue here is a customer who still buys that oil. If even a fraction of people would stop buying the fake supermarket olive oil and start going straight to the producers (there is plenty of us there who decided to make a stand and sell directly, and yes its more expensive because it takes care, love, attention and lots and lots of hard work) then maybe it will drive the supermarkets to make sure their olive oil is real, and then maybe they will join the fight against this disease.
Here is a tip to help you recognize if your oil is real or not. Taste it, taste it without anything else just a bit of oil on the tea spoon, and what you should experience the second that oil hits your taste buds its heaven full of earthy flavors, fallowed by a bit of bitterness to the back of your mouth, it should taste clear not fatty, not like butter or vegetable oil, but clear, smooth. The after taste should produce good amount of saliva so you shouldn't feel like you have to wash out your mouth because its full of fat.
Take a piece of fresh bread poor some oil on the plate, dip the bread in that olive oil, and taste it. What you should taste is enhanced flavor of your bread, you should feel like this alone is a dish, that you don't need anything else to pleasure your taste buds.
Fake olive oil will mask other flavors, will taste fatty, or won't taste at all. You will end up with unpleasant after taste, your subconscious will dictate to you to go and rinse your mouth out. Let's say it this way if you reading this and feel like yak!! Why would i go and taste raw olive oil like that it means you have been using fake for a long time and probably never had a pleasure to try the real one.
Moving on to some other important tips, the packaging, only buy olive oil which is stored in darken bottles as biggest enemy of olive oil is direct sunlight or any light for that matter. If the oil you just bought is in a transparent bottle it's most definitely fake. No self respecting producer will ever put their "liquid gold" to transparent bottle.
Don't be afraid to question the product you are spending your hard earned money on, because if you are buying a vegetable oil packaged sold as extra virgin olive oil you may as well buy 5 times cheaper vegetable oil, makes sense?
Feel free to write to us if you have any questions about the extra virgin olive oil, we are here to help!