How to Tell If Your Olive Oil is FAKE

...what's really IN that bottle of EVOO?


Sometimes I feel like I must be spending too much time with my head in the sand! Did you know that there is a whole underground market of FAKE EVOO? That’s right! Fake olive oil! Since olive oil is used second only to coconut oil by most of us living a low carb lifestyle I thought you’d like to know! So how do you get the real deal?


Affiliate Links

Companies are faking olive oil because there is a LOT of money to be made in that market! 

So the University of California conducted tests and found that 69% of all store-bought extra virgin olive oils in the US are probably fake. In two studies, UC Davis researchers analyzed a total of 186 extra virgin olive oil samples against standards established by the International Olive Council (IOC).

Of the five top-selling imported “extra virgin” olive oil brands in the United States, 73 percent of the samples failed the IOC sensory standards for extra virgin olive oils analyzed by two IOC-accredited sensory panels. The failure rate ranged from a high of 94 percent to a low of 56 percent depending on the brand and the panel. None of the Australian and California samples failed both sensory panels, while 11 percent of the top-selling premium Italian brand samples failed the two panels. Sensory defects are indicators that these samples are oxidized, of poor quality, and/or adulterated with cheaper refined oils.

This study reported that the following brands failed to meet extra virgin olive oil standards:

  • Bertolli
  • Carapelli
  • Colavita
  • Filippo Berio
  • Mazzola
  • Mezzetta
  • Newman’s Own
  • Safeway
  • Star
  • Whole Foods

FRAUDS! EEK! I bet most of us can go to our cupboards and find a bottle from one of those well-known brands! 

In the same study they found that these brands met their standards for being true extra virgin olive oil:

  • Corto Olive
  • California Olive Ranch
  • Kirkland Organic
  • Lucero (Ascolano)
  • McEvoy Ranch Organic

YES! I love it! Kirkland! Yes, the same Kirkland you find at your local Costco store listed as one of the brands that should be able to be trusted!

So what should you look for when buying olive oil in a store?  Here’s a half dozen checks you will want to consider:

1. First off check the harvest date.  That’s the date when the olives were actually harvested. You want fresh oil that is as close to the harvest date as possible so you know it hasn’t been sitting around in a warehouse, on a ship, etc.

2. Do not buy olive oil in clear bottles and especially not in plastic. Buy olive oil in dark bottles that keep light out and quality in!

3. Avoid any olive oil that calls itself “Lite!”

4. Look for EVOO that carries the International Olive Oil Council’s (IOC) seal.

5. When in doubt buy California olive oil simply because there has been less fraud reported than imported brands.

6. Do your homework. Look up that brand, find out how they are raising (or acquiring) their olives and exactly how they are producing it. 

We are lucky enough to actually have an olive oil bar here in our city! You can actually do an olive oil tasting much like you do with wine and pretty much how we did it in Italy! You will be amazed at how different various olive oils taste!  

See that background behind him? Oh my goodness! The same view we enjoyed from the villa we love visiting when in Italy! If you really want to know exactly what you are eating read Tom Mueller’s book, “Extra Virginity!” 

A few years ago we were lucky enough to tour Italy and quickly learned that all the vineyards throughout Tuscany also always have an olive grove. That’s because when and if the wine makers have a bad harvest of grapes they are pretty much sure their olives will be good, and thus save the day and the economy that year! So most vineyard tasting rooms tucked into the country landscape will offer olive oil samples along with their wine tastings! I learned just as quickly that flavors varied widely. While I loved some I didn’t like others. Some had a rich nutty fresh flavor while others tasted too “green” for my taste.

So if you happen to have an olive oil bar in your area, take advantage of it! If you don’t, most, like the ones we have locally, will ship and you will be guaranteed you are getting pure extra virgin olive oil, not something cut with soy!  In any case do your own research before you buy so you get what you pay for! Expensive doesn’t necessarily mean better!

Do you have a favorite EVOO?  Did you find this article helpful or valuable? If so we’d love a like or share! I also invite you to to stop over to our Facebook group or page where we share each and every day!  

In the meantime that’s the skinny on olive oil!
Ciao for now!  ~Marge

Ciao for NOW! ~Marge

Get your own copy of Extra Virginity now!


Please be advised. the information that is shared herein is intended for informational purposes. Any advice and/or product(s) mentioned should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

Always consult your healthcare professional if you are currently taking medication, pregnant, trying to get pregnant, nursing, or if you have any other health condition before taking any products mentioned or applying any information contained herein.

So... what's YOUR take on this?