How to distinguish quality olive oil from counterfeit?
To date, olive oil has become widespread among Russian consumers as one of the most useful vegetable oils. It is the best source of monounsaturated fatty acids among all vegetable oils, which should make up 60% of all consumed fats. However, only a quality product is really useful. After all, often unscrupulous manufacturers, under the guise of olive oil, sell a mixture of sunflower, rapeseed, palm oil with the addition of dyes and flavors.
Most often, olive oil is diluted with cheap refined sunflower oil. Some manufacturers indicate on the label in small print that there is a mixture of olive and sunflower oil in the composition, without indicating a percentage ratio. Or indicate numbers that are not true. For example, a producer claims 25% of olive oil, but in fact it contains only 5-10%. Therefore, first we look at the composition: in the composition of high-quality olive oil should be indicated – 100% Olive Oil or “Natural”.
If there is an inscription “Mix”, “Oil Mix”, “Polivio”, “Estella” – therefore, before you is a mixture of various vegetable oils, and the content of olive oil in such mixtures is very small.
When choosing oil, decide where you will add it – to salads or hot dishes. On the label, the manufacturer indicates what the oil is intended for, classifying it into three main groups: “virgin” – natural (obtained using only physical extraction methods without chemical cleaning), “refined” – refined (purified using physicochemical methods) and “pomace” – oil cake (obtained from squeezed using chemical solvents). Read about the methods of oil purification and their benefits in the article “What is the use of vegetable oils?”
As a rule, Extra Virgin is added to salads – unrefined cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil; the acidity (free fatty acid content) of this oil is less than 1%. “Extra Virgin”, according to the standard, has an excellent taste, the aroma is slightly bitter, richly expressed – this is the best olive oil. Conventional unrefined olive oil (virgin olive oil) can have an acidity of up to 2%, it does not have the “Extra” prefix. If during the first extraction of olives olive oil comes out with an acidity of more than 2%, then the manufacturer can not call it virgin. Once this oil was used solely for technical purposes and was called “lamp” (lampante virgin olive oil). Now this oil is refined to improve palatability and reduce acidity, and this oil is suitable for frying, provided that the acidity is <2%. Therefore, if the label says “Refinado”, then you know, before you is the failed Virgin oil, which has undergone repeated processing – refining.
For frying, use refined olive oil. Manufacturers give different names to refined olive oil: “Pure olive oil”, “Rafined olive oil”, “Light olive oil”. Some producers of olive oil deliberately mislead the consumer by pointing to the label of refined olive oil – “olive oil”. Of course, refined olive oil is inferior in taste and useful qualities to cold-pressed oil, but this oil is better suited for frying due to the fact that it does not contain phospholipids, which are intensively oxidized even with slight heating with the formation of carcinogens.
“Pomace” – a cake of olive oil – is used only for greasing forms before baking, and the Spaniards call this oil “Orujo”. Such olive oil should not be purchased. In Spain, health authorities have banned its widespread sale due to the fact that it found substances that provoke the development of cancer.
Read the label carefully, pay attention to the classification of oil and acidity (it should be no more than 3.3%). The label should also indicate the country of origin, the place and date of the oil bottling (ideally if the producer himself pours and packs olive oil). Also, the coordinates of the importing company should be indicated on the label. If only the production or bottling area is indicated on the label, the quality of such an oil should be doubtful. Beware of buying oil spilled in a country where olive trees do not grow. This may mean that this oil has not passed quality control in their country.
On some olive oil labels you will see the designations IGP and DOP. IGP stands for “Indicazione Geografica Protetta” and means that one of the technological processes in the production of olive oil took place in a protected controlled area, which is officially represented on the world market. That is, the collection and squeezing process is strictly controlled on the spot – in Spain or Greece, but the cleaning and bottling was not carried out on the territory of the manufacturer.
DOP marking – “Denominazione d’ Origine Protetta ”means that collection, extraction, purification and bottling took place in the same area.