The Great Olive Oil Scandal

Over the last few years, I have become hooked on olive oil as an integral part of cooking. Its taste and its ability to transfer taste between ingredients has often brought me to fantasizing about putting a bottle of olive oil to my lips and drinking it. No, I haven’t done that yet…..but you never know what an addiction will bring!

While olive oil is purported to have lots of health benefits, I am disregarding all of that in favour of taste. I have become fiendish about reasons to use it: Will the main course stick to the pan? Will the main course dry out in cooking? Is the ingredient a bit bland? Is there any reason NOT to use it? And on it goes….that bottle is always close by and any excuse to use it is valid.


Recently I decided to delve into finding the best quality product on the market. I don’t mind paying a bit extra since my wife is a hardened (no pun intended) butter fan and does 3/4 of the cooking anyway. So that reduces our consumption and makes me sneaky about using it too liberally. So imagine my surprise when Google searches brought headlines of a Great Olive Oil Scam. At first glance, a reader would think that most olive oil is mixed with soybean oil or some equivalent, and hardly olive oil at all. I ran to my current bottle of Colavita Extra Virgin and started a search of reviews of quality. Sure enough, it was on the Bad Boy list. Dang, I paid a lot at Save-On Foods for that!

Then I stumbled across an article from Snopes, the hoax analyst site. They had an article on the controversy. While not dismissing all claims from an article from California on the subject, the truth is the almost all olive oil out there is pure olive oil. The main controversy is whether or not it is “virgin” or “extra virgin” to the extent of the standards. The amount of “fake” olive oil out there is actually minimal, practically non-existent. It also turns out that my current brand of Colavita is perfectly ok, it’s fully real, not fake and virgin (although some tests didn’t meet the “extra virgin” standard).

This reminded me of a few lessons learned over the years: Don’t believe everything you read. Don’t believe everything you read about everything you read. There are agendas everywhere….things are written for a purpose and it is often intended for a not-so-good purpose.  Just check and re-check.

So if you are an olive oil fan, just enjoy it like you are a tea fan, a coffee fan, a wine fan, or a chocolate fan. They all have their peculiar tastes and there is a right one out there for you!





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