With the olive oil–rich Mediterranean diet being recognized for its potential in reducing risk of heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease, it’s no wonder that people are drizzling extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) on just about everything. However, most EVOO is not 100% pure as olive oil fraud continues to run rampant.
According to the UC Davis Olive Center at the Robert Mondavi Institute, samples of EVOO fail quality tests for one or more main reasons, including oxidation by exposure to elevated temperature, light and/or aging; adulteration with cheaper, refined olive oil; and poor quality resulting from damaged and overripe olives, processing flaws and/or improper storage.
So how do you know that your EVOO is the real deal? Make sure to buy from specialty retailers that let you sample before you buy, and also check to ensure the harvest date on the label is dated within the last year or has at least a year to go before its “best by” date.
Pure EVOO should smell and taste fresh and fruity, with grassy, apple, herbaceous, bitter or spicy notes; it shouldn’t taste and smell musty or stale. Also, choose bottles or containers that protect against light (darkened glass or stainless steel are best), and keep it stored in a cool, dark place to prolong freshness.