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Food News


THIS SECTION IS FOR NEWS AND INTERESTING STORIES RELATED TO FOOD, NUTRITION AND FOOD PROCESSING. THEY ARE NOT NECESSARILY RELATED TO KOSHER BUT MAY BE OF INTEREST TO THE KOSHER CONSUMER, MANUFACTURER OR MASHGIACH.

The following information is from the RSSL and UCDavis posted on JULY 25, 2010.

The UC Davis Olive Oil Chemistry Laboratory evaluated the quality of extra virgin olive oils sold on retail shelves in California. The laboratory tests found that samples of imported olive oil labeled as "extra virgin" and sold at retail locations in California often did not meet international and US standards. Sensory tests showed that these failed samples had defective flavors such as rancid, fusty, and musty. Negative sensory results were confirmed by chemical data in 86 percent of the cases. Chemical testing indicated that the samples failed extra virgin standards for reasons that include one or more of the following:

  • oxidation by exposure to elevated temperatures, light, and/or aging;
  • adulteration with cheaper refined olive oil;
  • poor quality oil made from damaged and overripe olives, processing flaws, and/or improper oil storage.
Their laboratory tests indicated that nine of ten California samples were authentic extra virgin olive oils, with one California sample failing the IOC/USDA sensory standard for extra virgin.

Over the past several years, trained olive oil tasters who have served on IOC-recognized sensory panels have reported to the UC Davis Olive Center that much of the olive oil sold in the United States as “extra virgin” does not meet this modest sensory standard. Moreover, there have been media reports of fraud in the olive oil business, where extra virgin olive oils have been adulterated with cheaper refined oils such as hazelnut oil. Another method is to adulterate extra virgin olive oil with cheaper refined olive oil, thereby making chemical detection of adulteration more difficult. More information about this study can be found at UCDavis.

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