Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Olive oil may not be what it says it is

MADRID A consumer organization, Organización de Consumidores y Usuarios (OCU), reported recently that it had carried out tests on 34 brands of Extra Virgin Olive Oil and 6 on Virgin Oil brands aimed at checking their quality. A battery of chemical tests that followed the official analyses system revealed that most of the leading brands meet all current regulations, but 9 do not. In these latter cases, the oil is labeled 'extra' when they are simply 'virgin'. This, says OCU, is fraudulent because not only is it mislabelling but also sells a lower quality of oil at prices for a better one. It is not, however, a matter of food safety, but of illicit financial gain. The price of a litre of Virgin Olive Oil is around the €2,50, while the Extra costs around one euro more (see listing below).>>>The OCU tests also discovered that 'aceite lampante', which is not apt for sale without further refining, was being sold as 'extra' by one brand and as 'virgin' by another, neither of which are leading ones, apparently.

In spite of the problems they found, OCU says in its report that there are plenty of very good products at reasonable prices, adding that a higher price is not necessarily indicative of better quality. The problem, they say, is that these kind of things tend to defame the entire industry.

OCU, which has no legal power, has presented the results of its analyses to the proper authorities so they can look into the possibility of fraud and therefore take the appropriate measures, including heavy fines  and possible closures of these businesses.

The results of the tests are as follows, by brand, price range, container and quality:

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