The investigative journalist Tom Mueller reveals what really lies in the cheap olive oil from the supermarket labeled as ‘extra virgin’.
In his book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, journalist Tom Mueller reveals the extremely corrupt and not at all ‘virgin’ side of the olive oil producing industry. Imported oil with suspicious quality originating from countries like Turkey, Tunisia and Spain are transferred into new containers with the name of extra virgin olive oil in the Italian town of Lucca.
Since the publication of this book the understanding of extra virgin olive oil dramatically changed, and became clear that you can not expect top quality olive oil products from a supermarket where you pay only 5 $ for bottle of 25.5 fl oz.
Oil without any impurities
So, instead of the term extra virgin olive oil, the term olive oil of high quality should be used. The term means that the olive oil is without any impurities. To notice such impurities and additives in olive oil, which is sold under the name Extra virgin, you should be a real connoisseur, and for most people these additives still pass unnoticeable.
Mueller’s research have shown that many of the olive oil ‘high quality’ brands mix their virgin olive oil with a variety of different types of seed oil like sunflower, sesame, rapeseed, or are derived from the leftovers of the production process of olive oil.
These other types of seed oil do not contain nearly as much quality ingredients, nutrients or healing properties like real extra virgin olive oil. The problem is that most consumers are unaware when choosing cheaper products.
Shelf life is 18 months
Experts say that the shelf life of extra virgin olive oil is 18 months from the moment of harvesting and processing, not from the moment of bottling. Extremely golden-yellow in color, moderately strong in taste and should not have any smell that is not characteristic of the olive oil.
Of all the different types of seed oil, olive oil is the healthiest because of the simple process of pressing and filtering the fatty acids during the production. It is rich in chlorophyll, lecithin (a natural antioxidant), carotene, polyphenol (antioxidant), essential vitamins A, D and K, and vitamin E.
Extra virgin olive oil is produced through a process of pressing of fresh olives and its acidity level (FFA) does not exceed 0.8%. Then, in order to merit the title ‘extra virgin’, alongside with meeting the constitutional chemical parameters, it still must pass and organoleptic testing.
Finally, it should be carried in mind that extra virgin olive oil enriched with rosemary or any other additive is not really an extra virgin olive oil!