Most of us by now have seen going around on social media the claims that most of our olive oil is fake. I found multiple posts shared just today that look like this one:
They claim that the majority of our olive oil is fake and name a large number of olive oils as fake. Websters Dictionary defines the word fake as an adjective meaning “counterfeit, sham <He was wearing a fake mustache.>” I started thinking about this because when you think of how huge the claim is.. I mean, 70% of the olive oil in the U.S. that’s a huge HUGE deal. Being the skeptic I have a tendency to be I first went to my favorite website when I have questions like this, snopes.com. They are pretty great about doing their research and I have trusted them for years.
According to the snopes article that can be found here snopes.com/olive foil, this just isn’t the case. They tell you that these claims are mostly false and give you a great run down of the origin, timelines misconceptions etc. They show you what they have found to be true: “Testing carried out in 2008 and 2010 suggested some popular olive oils did not meet varied criteria for the labels of “extra virgin” or similar designations.” And that’s it for the truth! Can you believe that? What it all boils down to according to snopes is that they weren’t actually (7 – 9 years ago) found to be fake just lacking in the high quality to call them “extra virgin”
The above post states on it “70% of Olive oil available in stores in the U.S. has actually been cut with cheaper, nastier oils – meaning it’s a fake!” but in the snopes article you find the report in PDF form put out by UCD that this claim is coming from and what they actually say in their executive summary (page 2) is:
“Our testing indicated that the samples failed extra virgin olive oil standards according to one or more of the following: (a) oxidation by exposure to elevated temperatures, light, and/or aging; (b) adulteration with cheaper refined olive oil; and (c) poor quality oil made from damaged and overripe olives, processing flaws, and/or improper oil storage.”
So it seems to me that someone isn’t doing their homework and sadly adding to the sensationalism of the whole thing. There are a lot of great facts in the snopes article and it’s an easy read so please do so to get the full scope of their findings.
Now then…. I don’t want to just take the word blindly of snopes so I did a little more research and have not been able to come up with any concrete, specific, point blank evidence that there is some raging conspiracy involving the olive oil industry.
I found this article: Is Your Olive Oil Fake? that has plenty to say but it is all without any real research, his references for the most part are blogs and paraphrased pieces of articles. Even the 60 minutes clip he has on here actually says NOTHING about his claim that the olive oil is fake. (I watched it 5 times just to be sure) In fact, it goes on to say that the panel they used (to sip, not to actually test) even stated that they samples 60 minutes supplied them with “the panel would not say they had been adulterated”.
In another article titled: Your Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is Fake, the author states “Last year, researchers at UC Davis tested 124 different samples from eight major brands of extra-virgin olive oil. More than seventy percent of the imported oils failed.” That doesn’t say it’s fake. It goes back the the portion of the UCD report I quoted earlier. After that she just goes on to quote the same guy that was in the 60 minutes piece from the previous mentioned article who has coincidentally written a book about this subject. Not an article but a profit making book that on some level to me seems to be nothing more than a fear tactic being used to line his own pockets.
I’m not saying there isn’t any truth in any of this or that there isn’t such thing as the “Agromafia”. All I am saying is that this is something from an author of a book and this goes completely against the UCD report.
Furthermore….. I also found that the New York Times revised part of an infographic that this author was quoted on. This was done as critics stated it was inaccurate and sensational in parts. The author claimed he was not responsible for the misinformation. Since when is a journalist/reporter/author not responsible for the words they right?
The point to all of this is this:
Just because something is on social media and just because it has circulated numerous times and your friends and all their friends and all of their friends are talking about it, take everything with a rather large grain of salt. Don’t believe everything you see on the internet.
Nearly a decade ago some olive oils were found to be sub standard and should not have been called “Extra Virgin” but they were still olive oils. Not fakes.
So in the future, if you see something that looks a little to far fetched, it just may be. Put a little time into it and research. Find out for yourself. Be proactive, not reactive.
Can we please quit the hysteria and stop the madness?
Have a great one all!
♥ D ♥
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