Thursday, April 01, 2010 by: Paul Fassa, citizen journalist
(NaturalNews) When you buy olive oil labelled Cold Pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil, you think you’re getting the best of all possible salad oils. If it is what the label says, especially if it’s from Italy, you assume that you are getting the healthiest oil possible. But is that really true?
There have been several cases of fraud discovered in the olive oil industry over the last two decades. Hardly anyone gets prosecuted, although a lot of doctored oil gets destroyed.
There is no third party to determine whether the oil is pure virgin olive oil, whether it is mixed with partially hydrogenated oils, soy, hazelnut, or canola, or whether it is from other places outside Italy, the world’s largest source of olive oil. Companies have been caught red handed doing this with huge volumes of oil. Very little comes of it as the heads of big edible oil producers in Italy are often politically well connected.
The producers’ attitude is that if it smells good and tastes good, it’s good oil. There is no mention of cheating on the health benefits of pure olive oil. And that’s where health conscious consumers are being cheated. The hard fact is simply most what is labeled extra virgin olive oil isn’t.
Slipping You the Bad Stuff
It’s not required to display “partially hydrogenated” on the labels of olive oils mixed with up to 20% of other hydrogenated oils. Partially hydrogenating keeps liquid vegetable seed or nut oils processed with heat or chemicals from going rancid. It extends shelf life. But these partially hydrogenated oils create many of the health problems that plague us, including obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.
If you consider how hazelnut, soy, canola, and other oils are transported by ship, then transported by rail to refineries who process them, then mixed with olive oil that’s been sitting in silos, and then bottled and shipped out to different countries to sit on shelves until purchased, there has to be some processing and hydrogenating of those oils for it to last all that time.
When these are mixed with olive oil, the health benefits of olive oil are nullified while the toxicity of processed, partially hydrogenated oils invades our bodies. You can’t trust those big plastic bottles in discount stores and supermarkets that are labeled extra virgin or virgin olive oil.
Here’s the Good Stuff
The oil from 100% pure cold pressed olives does have a long enough shelf life without hydrogenation, two to three years, because of its innate unaltered antioxidant content. The health benefits of olive oil’s polyphenols, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals remain intact for the consumer.
For pure premium olive oil, olives are picked by hand, not by machine, to keep the olives intact and to keep out the leaves and twigs. Then it has to be cold pressed within a short time to separate the oil without heat or chemicals. Centrifuges are often used, but purists use traditional stone pressing. Centrifuges require water that rinses many of the water soluble antioxidant polyphenols away. Thus stone pressing is better.
The oil should be stored in tinted glass bottles or stainless steel cans. Oil will leech chemicals from plastic. Traditional small producers often provide unfiltered oil, which will show up as cloudy or with some sediment, and they use organic olives.
These olive oils will be pricier. But using less will benefit your health much more than using more of the cheaper stuff. If you can’t find a nearby source you can trust the Natural News store for some great olive oil information.
Sources for more information:
Natural News Store (olive oils)
The Olive Oil Scandal
Olive Oil Imports Deceptive Labeling
Slippery Business, New Yorker online, Tom Mueller