What has happened in this industry reminds me of the salmon health kick. Now, farmed salmon is so aggressively marketed, but in the process, food industry created a food item that has the highest concentration of PCVs to the extent that its consumption increases risk of cancer, based on research done by EWG. We consume olive oil for its numerous health benefits and polyphenols. And now we hear that olive oil is contaminated with other cheap oils…to increase the revenue, of course. There was a study in 2011 by UC Davis Olive Center that took the oils under the microscope, so to speak and analyzed their ingredients. You can read the details here.
What were the results and what do they mean?
70% of the top olive oil brands tested failed the DAGs test. A low DAGs test means that oil was hydrolyzed, oxidized, of poor quality, and/or adulterated with cheaper refined oils. What does that mean? Hydrolyzed means diluted with water. Oxidized means old and it means oxidative stress and free radicals, so the antioxidant quality of olive oil is destroyed. It means the oil is stale or rancid- perhaps due to storage in sun and exposure to high temperature. Refined oils are processed with hexane, a neurotoxin. They are also thermally deodorized and blanched.
50% of the top olive oil brands tested failed the PPP test. A high PPP test meant that the oil was oxidized and/or adulterated with cheaper refined oils (see above). Oxidation means free radical damage and damage to your arteries (see above). Cheaper oils most likely means a vegetable, safflower, sunflower, corn, or soy oils, all of which are high in Omega 6, a pro-inflammatory fat, and two last ones of which are definitely going to be from GMO seeds (they would have to be organic certified otherwise, and would you agree that in this context that would not be happening?).
What to do about your olive oil?
Since this was a few years ago, the companies that failed in the study may have cleaned up their oils due to public pressure, so while you can review the names of the brands in the link I provided above, I would not necessarily go by these brands. The solution is to do what we should do with all fine things in life: splurge on a very good quality olive oil perhaps in a specialty store, always buy smallest bottle available and only in dark glass bottle, and put it in the fridge for a few days to test it. If it starts to crystalize, it is pure olive oil. If it remains liquid, it is NOT.
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