UC Davis released a study on extra virgin olive oil just under one month ago which found that 60 percent of the olive oil tested failed USDA sensory standards.
The UC Davis researchers evaluated 21 olive oil brands sold to restaurants and food service operations, 15 of which were marketed as “extra virgin”--a premium grade for olive oil.
According to the study, the most common defects were related to the olive oils’ flavors and aromas, but some of them were so defective that the researchers classified them as lamp oil and were labeled to be “unfit for human consumption.”
Some of the extra virgin oils were also found to have been muddled with cheap, refined canola oil, making them fall short of the sensory standard.
Dewey Lucero, the owner and founder of Lucero Olive Oil in Corning said that he thinks most people are not aware of what kind of oil they are buying.
He recommended checking expiration dates and looking at when the oil was actually made.
Lucero believes that one issue when making extra virgin olive oil is that the quality of the ingredients--olives--has to be high before they are pressed into oil.
Lucero also said that consumers should look for “COOC” seals on olive oil bottles. This seal ensures the consumer that the olive oil was approved by the California Olive Oil Council, ensuring its quality.