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Olive Oil - Buyer Beware! - Forno Bravo Forum: The Wood-Fired Oven Community

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Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

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  • Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

    A cautionary tale from a recent news clipping - be sure you are getting what you are paying for!
    Perhaps this is more reason to consider ordering EVOO from the FB store ...

    - - -

    400 cops smash fake olive-oil ring in Italy

    ROME -- Italian police arrested 23 people yesterday and seized 85 farms in an operation that exposed the scale of the trade in fraudulent olive oil.

    More than 400 officers took part in Operation Golden Oil following an investigation into the thriving illegal business that involves importing low quality oil from around the Mediterranean and packaging it as Italian.

    Other ploys include labelling inferior oil as extra-virgin and claiming EU subsidies for growing olives in Italy that are, in fact, imported. Police found bogus invoices to the EU for $10 million, as well as receipts for $60 million of "Italian" oil made with non-Italian olives.

    Coldiretti, the farmers' union, claimed that the illegal trade grew by a quarter last year. A spokesman said: "Almost half the 'Italian' oil sold inside Italy is pressed from olives of an unknown provenance."

    Italian olive production fell by 15 per cent last year, and the country does not produce enough to feed its domestic market.

    Many olive oils sold in Britain are "blended" from a variety of oils before being sold as Italian extra-virgin.
    Italian Agriculture Minister Paolo De Castro said: "We are ever more sensitive to this type of fraud and we will keep monitoring the entire production line.

    "For example, we are now insisting on proper labels, which are more detailed than required by European law."
    De Castro recently revealed the government had investigated 787 producers and found that 205 were guilty of falsely labelling their bottles or adulterating their products with low-grade oils.

  • #2
    Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

    Sad,
    The Mafia, or greed in general infiltrated the EVOO market too. (My assumption...please don't send your Uncle Salvatore to get me) Not surprising though. A country roughly the size of California can hardly produce enough EVOO to supply the world, especially when so much of the country is committed to grapes, tomatoes, grains, etc.
    Good report Sarah.
    GJBingham
    -----------------------------------
    Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

    -

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

      That report surely makes the pips squeak, Sarah!

      Olive oil in 4 L tins is usually around the $A50 mark in my local supermarket these days, so I jumped with joy when I picked up 4L of Spanish Carbonell extra vergine at Woolworths the other day for jsut $A 24 (only to get scolded by the wife for being gullible... but within a week SHE bought 4L of Moro EV herself for $A25!)...

      Any report on those Spanish scams yet???

      Cheers,

      LMH
      Last edited by carioca; 03-08-2008, 02:10 AM. Reason: Sp
      "I started out with nothing, and I've still got most of it"

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

        Originally posted by gjbingham View Post
        (My assumption...please don't send your Uncle Salvatore to get me)
        Sal's a bit busy these days... would Cousin Guido do??

        Food adulteration and mislabeling is an old well-honed ploy. It is good to see continued attempts to keep it under control (or as "under control" as greed can be). There is nothing wrong with blended olive oil... as long as we know what we're getting and are paying the right price!

        Although this is a bit of a tangent to the thread... why use real Extra Virgin on pizza? Extra virgin is generally regarded as a salad oil and a pompous waste of money in almost every other cooking endeavor because the qualities we crave are damaged by heat. Okay, the possible exception is the drizzle AFTER the pizza is cooked. I cringe when I hear Rachel (and a few others) suggest frying (etc) in "EVOO".

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

          And then you have Costco's Kirkland Signature - Filippo Berio Organic EVOO

          Get a load of this "Packed in Italy with select oils from Italy, Spain and Tunisia"

          No where near single malt eh?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

            jengineer,
            Good call, I'm using that stuff currently. Its fine for cooking with but... well, you know. It's not the same.
            GJBingham
            -----------------------------------
            Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

            -

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

              I searched the site (maybe not utilizing the full search capability right)...

              What type of Olive oil is recommended by the FB forum - is there a consensus? I would like to buy some quality oil just for pizza but I'm never sure which one is prefered.

              Let me know.

              Thanks
              Dick

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

                Hi badger, this is the oil for sale on FB

                Extra Virgin Olive Oil

                A good oil isn't cheap but there is a world of difference in qualities.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

                  Any report on those Spanish scams yet???

                  >
                  >
                  >
                  Sorry, but this is nothing new. Italian olive oil has had the marketing name cornered but the supply was suspect. I understand that Spain is the largest producer of olive oil and the Italians have been importing and labeling it for years.

                  The bigger problem is that there is now such a high demand for olive oil that it is increasingly being blended with other oils.

                  So, yes, buyer beware! (but save the best stuff for the salads!)

                  And olive oil is like wine, there are so many different types that you can do tastings!
                  sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

                    Now I know they grow olives in California has an olive oil industry started to grow there akin to the wine industry that is today producing wines that rival those.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

                      I went to the store and read all the labels. There's no 100% Italian EVOO in our markets. They are bottled there, but come from all over the Med. I bought a cheap Turkish one just for the hell of it. Nice green color.
                      GJBingham
                      -----------------------------------
                      Everyone makes mistakes. The trick is to make mistakes when nobody is looking.

                      -

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

                        It's a complicated world. Olive oil is a food product, and if you manage the trees properly, let the olives ripen to the right mix of green and black, pick by hand, don't let them fall to the ground, rush them to the press, never get the paste hot, and use a non-offensive extraction technique -- you will make a really nice olive oil. Any country can do that. There are wonderful olive oils from every country throughout the Mediterranean, plus the U.S., Australia and Chile (I'm sure there are others).

                        Spain produces wonderful olive oil, and I've always thought they should have an international campaign promoting the Spain "brand."

                        But when you start bending the truth to charge more for something that it isn't -- that's a real problem. As the Tuscan farmers say, the mass produced "Italian" olive is good for one thing; lamp oil. :-) They say their production costs are higher than the cost of the mass produced extra virgin olive oil.

                        The good news is that the FB EVOO is the real deal. It comes from a single fattoria, who owns all of the trees and the press -- and the owners are related to everyone who picks the olives. :-) Still, it's a little pricey, but the production quantities are tiny and the quality is extraordinary. If you can, you should give it a try.

                        James
                        Pizza Ovens
                        Outdoor Fireplaces

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

                          With the Italians screwing with the olive oil and the Mexicans messing with the vanilla, next we'll see the Saudis diluting the crude with camel urine.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

                            In order not to hijack Xjim's thread on Valencia oranges I thought I would reply to Georges question on Olive oil colour here.

                            Olive oil is as complex and varied a question as is wine. There is great, good and there is a lot of indifferent.

                            Soil conditions, climate and altitude of the olive tree grove have a defining effect onthe flavor of the olive oil as has the type or cultivar. I too have experienced the anomaly of the same oil from the same trees being different from one year to the next. I believe that, like grapes, the annual olive harvest differs in quantity and quality. The degree to which olives are ripe or unripe when harvested. Hand or machine picking, bruising of the fruit causes acidity, and the use of chemicals. The amounts of sun and water throughout the growing season. Single estate pressing and mixing of olives from differing groves. All these lead to differing colour and flavour.

                            Olive oil and wine production are, in my opinion, akin to each other and each year will produce a differing result.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Olive Oil - Buyer Beware!

                              ...absolutely agree....oil tastings are almost as much fun as wine tastings

                              and you get to swallow....although I don't spit out too many wines
                              sigpicTiempo para guzarlos..... ...enjoy every sandwich!

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