Perils of Food Fraud

Food fraud was recently defined in a report commissioned by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Center for Food Protection and Defense. Intentional or economically motivated adulteration includes the fraudulent addition of non-authentic substances or removal or replacement of authentic substances – without the purchaser’s knowledge – for economic gain of the seller.

In California, olive oil must have a certification label ensuring that the oil has passed a chemistry test and a master taste test to be extra virgin. Truth in labeling with harvest date, mill date, and origin should be clearly apparent. Ask your oil purveyor to tell you the origin of the olives, where it was milled, and the type of storage after milling. You should be able to see the chemistry profiles of each oil, proving that it passed the tests for extra virgin oil. Ask and you will be better informed.

In California, you can assure you are getting extra virgin olive oil by looking over the bottle and finding the certification label from the California Olive Oil Council. This label is only given to a producer when the oil has been chemically tested, then moved on to the master taste test, as described above.

Here’s the label you should find on your bottle of certified extra virgin olive oil: