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Olive Oil News & Commentary

If you have any news or worthwhile commentary related to olive oil, please send it to us and we will be happy to include it in this page for the benefit of all.


Recently I visited one of these Membership-Based warehouses / superstores (I will not mention the name) located in the city of Torrance, California. It was Sunday afternoon and the store was packed with people. In a recession, many people turn to these stores more than ever for a better value.

I noticed that they were selling olive oil and I went straight to that section to check things out. They were selling three kinds of olive oil that were labeled as follows: "Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin", "Pure Olive Oil" and "Extra Light Olive Oil". These olive oils were packaged in 2-liter and 5-liter plastic bottles and were from the same supplier. They were all generally priced around $2.3-$2.6 per liter and they looked about the same. I was kind of surprised to find out after checking the selves, that they had no other kind of olive oil. After taking a quick look at these oils, I determined from the way that they were labeled, from their color and their viscosity, that they were oils of very low quality that should not be sold to people as olive oil and especially as cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil. I did not have to taste them; it was obvious to me by just looking at them.

I cannot help it but wonder why a superstore like this would choose to sell this kind of garbage to their valued customers, when there are high quality olive oils available in the marketplace at competitive prices. Maybe they do not know any better. Maybe they do not value their customers that much; because if they did, they would not sell them this garbage to eat.

Many people would think that they are getting a bargain by buying this olive oil at $2 and change per liter. Not so. They are being cheated because they think that they are buying olive oil when they are buying a very low quality industrial product that has been produced by chemical refining. This product contains none at all or very little nutrients and possibly chemicals that are residuals of the refining process. I don't think that people would willingly buy this stuff if they knew that not only these products are not good for them, but they may actually be bad for them.

Some of you may wonder why I am exposing this. I am exposing this primarily because people without knowing buy this garbage thinking that they are following the Mediterranean Diet. These products however are very typical of the lowest quality olive oils that are available in the US market and do not contain anywhere close to the nutrients and antioxidants that are present in real extra virgin olive oil. People therefore buy this garbage, they put it on their food thinking that they eat healthy, and then wonder what happened when they are diagnosed with cancer or heart disease at an early age. Why did this happen to me? They ask. I was eating healthy, they say.

I am exposing this also because these oils are intentionally labeled in order to mislead the consumer. Nobody sells true 100% Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive for $2 and change per liter retail. It is not possible. Why do they label therefore these products as "Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil" and as "Pure Olive Oil"? Why don't they say the truth, i.e. "5% Cold-Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil of low quality, 95% Refined Oils that you could not even think of attempting to eat before refining"?

Actually, the labeling of these products is not in violation of any laws. However, this does not mean that it is not misleading. For example, to many consumers the world "Pure" means "Good". In the olive oil industry however, "Pure" means "Low Quality". It is actually a grade of olive oil that is of low quality (check our section "Grades of Olive Oil" for more information on that).

I cannot also help it but wonder. If this is what happens with olive oil (I can recognize it because I know a lot about this subject), what happens with all these other food products that we consume every day? What chemicals do they contain and what vital nutrients have been removed? Are they labeled properly or are the labels totally misleading to the uninformed consumer?

I really would like to know what the buyer of that membership-based superstore was thinking when he/she closed that deal and decided to offer this garbage to the American consumer to eat. I want to know what he/she was thinking, that's all.....

The lesson from all this is the following:

Choose your olive oil and all your food products very carefully. Do not trust large superstores to do the work for you and to provide you with high quality products because obviously they will not always do that.

Panagiotis Theodoropoulos, Ph.D.

Marketing Director

Eliki Extra Virgin Olive Oil


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