Inexpensive, less healthy foods masquerading as more expensive healthy ones was the headline topic of one of Dr Oz's shows last week.
This was a breaking story a couple of years ago when some curious high school students in NYC ran DNA tests on various caviars, fish and cheeses, only to find they were not what they purported to be. Instead of the real... expensive... deal, cheaper goods or in some cases even a totally different species, were... and still are... being passed off as the pricier one.
Here's that article:
While caviar and pricey cheeses may never be your thing, Dr Oz revealed a fraud that might hit a bit closer to home... your extra virgin olive oil.
We've all been told how good the monosaturated fat of virgin olive oil is for our health... and while no one is eating it off the spoon like fish oil, we've been shining our angel's halo by putting it on salads and cooking with it.
Problem is, olive oil fraud is widespread, particularly since there's been a an increased demand for it and so much money to be made by simply changing a label.
The frauds have gotten so good at it, that taste tests even fool the experts.
Dr Oz suggested a simple test we all can do at home... put your olive oil in the fridge.
If it thickens up, rather the way animal fat does when cold, then chances are, its the real deal.
My new bottle of Certified Organic Virgin Olive Oil failed the fridge test.
It was as clear and liquid as water.
It was returned.
Other ways of knowing what you've got is real, is that the oil will have not just a sell by date, but a harvest date.
Be suspicious of oils collected from a variety of foreign countries, and processed in another. Chances are high one of the suppliers hasn't been exactly upfront about what he's passing off.
Color is no indicator, as chlorophyll can be added to green it up.
So what to do? How can you protect yourself?
Short of buying your oil direct from the farmer, remember:
If it doesn't solidify, return it.
AND If you find a brand that passes the fridge test, please post it here so that others can benefit from your discovery.
Until then... I'm done with olive oil for a while.
Instead I'm sticking with extra virgin organic expeller expressed coconut.
Until I find out that's a fraud, too!
Caveat emptor, peeps!
I had two bottles of OO in the fridge, an opened one and the full one which was returned.
The two bottles were put into the fridge in the morning, left there overnite ...without any change in viscosity or clarity 24 hours later.
I left the opened one in the fridge and today... 3 days later, its begun to seize up. I'm not sure what to make of this.
Experiment time! I had a bit of canola oil left over from making brownies for the neighbors, so I stuck that in the fridge to see what happens. I also poured a bit of it out into a glass, so that will reach fridge temps quicker, easily by this afternoon when I return home.
So my canola oil is sitting in the fridge as clear and fluid as water.
That said, Shawn has pointed out a few articles that state that the fridge test for EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) isn't exactly reliable. Why?
A manufacturer can:
1.Add or use peanut oil, which solidifies as roughly the same temperature as EVOO.
2. Dilute the EVOO with a small amount of canola oil, and the EVOO will still solidify.
Additionally, the amount of waxes and sterols found in the skins of the olive, can influence the solidification of the EVOO.
There's a process called "winterization" which I'd read about before I wrote this blog. This is a process in which olive oil is frozen and the solid particles (waxes and sterols found in the olive's skins) are removed, so that the EVOO remains fluid under refrigerator temps (40 degrees or so).
The only problem with this, is that EVOO, by its own definition, is only supposed to be pressed by physical means and taste tested. The waxes and sterols that make the oil solid in the fridge, also add a flavor component, so I don't see how their removal can be within the definition of EVOO.
Anyways, it is what it is!
Shawn has found a brand using the fridge method!
My Cold Pressed Kirkland Filippo BERIO Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil solidified completely after 2/3 days. http://goo.gl/jTWVv
*Costco brand in dark green bottle).