Beware of Cheap Olive Oil
Illegal: In Italy, some manufactures have recently been caught mixing canola oil and other cheap oils, such as hazelnut with olive oil in order to be able to sell it at lower prices. This is a dangerous practice because people who are allergic to some of the other oils could get very ill.
Legal: While Spain produces 70% of the world’s olives, Italy sells 70% of the world’s olive oil. How does that work? It is common knowledge that the bigger Italian olive oil manufacturers will import olive oils from Spain, Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco, Israel and other places so they can bottle the olive in Italy which allows them to label it as “Made in Italy, Imported from Italy, Bottled in Italy”. It’s perfectly legal. Personally, I have had great Spanish olive oil, and Moroccan and Tunisian olive oils. There’s nothing wrong with their olives or their olive oils. But then I’d rather have the oil from those countries directly. Why should I buy something that was shipped over great distances over a two week period just so it can be labeled “Made in Italy, etc.”? It’s just not high quality.
So, how do you tell? Well, look at the list of ingredients on the olive oil bottles to see if they tell you where the olives are from. Usually they are required by the Internationl Olive Oil Council to do so. Another thing to look for is to see if the olive oil has a DOP icon anywhere. The DOP guarantees two things about Italian olive oil:
1. The olives used were produced locally, or are a product of one estate, in the same region where the oil was pressed.
2. The local authorities sampled the olive oil to ensure that it meets its high standards.