Did you know that standards have been established by the International Olive Council and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to grade extra virgin olive oil? Unfortunately, because enforcement of these standards is practically non-existent, an estimated 50% of extra virgin olive oil brands sold in Italy, and 75% to 80% of extra virgin olive oil brands sold in the United States, do not even meet the legal grades to be considered extra virgin.
The most common alteration involves diluting extra virgin olive oil with lower-quality oils from North Africa or other areas. What's even worse, many bottles labeled extra virgin olive oil contain virtually no olive oil, but are primarily seed oils like sunflower, which are then altered with chlorophyll and beta-carotene to give it the same characteristics as olive oil. Some brands use cheap Omega-6 fats as a base, and then add trace amounts of olive oil to pass it off as authentic. These fats not only create health problems, but deprive consumers of the beneficial polyphenols—natural anti-inflammatory and free-radical killing compounds—found largely in fruits, vegetables, tea, wine, cocoa, and pure extra virgin olive oil.
In a recent study, University of California at Davis scientists analyzed 186 extra virgin olive oil samples from several countries—all selected randomly from retail shelves in California. They found that 73%—imported and local—failed. The extent to which each failed ranged from 56% to 94%. The majority of samples tested exhibited one or more of the following:
Olive oil is known for its beneficial health properties, and has been proven effective in defending against diabetes, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and other diseases. In fact, higher consumption of extra virgin olive oil has been shown to reduce risk of all-cause mortality by 23%, cardiovascular events by 28%, and stroke incidence 40%. In addition, newly released studies demonstrate that incorporating olive oil into one’s daily diet may protect against other conditions such as Alzheimer’s, osteoporosis, and skin aging. However, to truly capitalize on these benefits, it's important to use authentic olive oil.
Life Extension—one of the largest organizations dedicated to investigating every method of extending the healthy human life span—conducted an investigation to find an unadulterated olive oil that is packed with polyphenol and completely pure—making it possible for Americans to enjoy the full health benefits of extra virgin olive oil without the fear of consuming counterfeits.
You can read more about Life Extension, its research, and findings regarding olive oil at: http://www.lifeextension.com/Magazine/2016/9/Is-Your-Olive-Oil-Counterfeit/Page-01. Their pure, extra virgin olive oil is also available for purchase on their website.
*** As a health-conscious consumer, I found myself irritated and upset after reading this article. It seems there is no end to the rampant deception existing in today's "big-industry". From health care and pharmaceutical companies, to food manufacturers and government regulators, you truly have to be your own advocate and informed consumer. These organizations are not going to be transparent. For them, it's all about business and making money, not protecting the individual and doing what's right.
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Glory B's unifies all of what I love most—the earth and its natural elements like stone and wood; the creative arts, whether through the written word, or photography, or paint; and helping others to make the world a better place.