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How To Shop For Real Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Not all Olive Oil is the same. Last week, I shared why Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the healthiest oil and you learned about the abundance of counterfeits. Here you'll learn exactly which certifications to look for and where to buy it!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil is like wine. The region where the olives are grown influences the flavor and color. The process and care as to how the oil is extracted and bottled is another key to quality. And finally, if it's not stored properly, it will spoil. But EVVO isn't entirely like wine.

EVOO doesn't age well. EVOO is best, immediately after it is bottled. But don't trust “bottled date” or “best buy” date. Instead, look for harvest date! 

Harvest date reveals more than expiration date. Fresh oil is best when used within 24 months after harvest. Unfortunately, most expiration dates extend beyond the 2 years of harvest date and aren’t the best indication of freshness. 

Ignore Meaningless Buzzwords like “fresh pressed, cold pressed or first cold pressed”. Oil is not pressed, it’s spun with centrifuges. Ignore “Non-GMO Project Verified” another FAKE. There are no GMO olives as of yet. But there are genetically modified cord soybean and canola oils. So the Non-GMO label can signal there isn't a blend of these other oil types.

Avoid blends, “pure, light, virgin", or any type of blend. It's a popular method to smuggle other oils.

Seal of Certification it is the best verification of authentic quality and value. But, be cautious, because not all certifications aren’t the same. Some aren’t regulated and amount to more of a club membership for growers, rather than a verification of the product. 

TOP 4 Trusted Certifications PICTURED ABOVE recognized by The International Olive Council 

  1. COOC: California Olive Oil Council is grown in CA, tasted and tested for quality to confirm real Extra Virgin grade. The seal is easy to find and gives me the confidence the oil is tested and meets their rigorous standards. Every harvest year they update their list with “Seal Certified Oils”. 
  2. European Commission Protected Designation of Origin Seal or PDO Seal “Identifies products that are produced, processed and prepared in a specific geographical area. They must adhere to a precise set of specifications and may bear the PDO logo” which is red and yellow. Beware of other variations of this seal, PGI is also from the European Commission, it's blue and yellow, but the PGI seal doesn't offer this highest standard.
  3. Australian Olive Association provides a regional seal of approval for companies to undergo chemical testing on a regular basis and must also pass a taste test.  
  4. EVA is a global organization also known as the Extra Virgin Alliance they use chemical and sensory parameters to define the quality of EVOO to its Best Before Date (BBD).  Click here to see the brands they've certified that you might recognize!

Ignore these certifications that aren’t entirely transparent, may allow blends and don’t regulate labels: 

  • USDA organic
  • CDFA California Dept. of Food and Agriculture 
  • EU European Union 
  • Olive Oil Commission of California 

Bottle Size & Color help preserve the quality. Buy the smaller size bottle, because once it’s opened, it’s best when used within 3-6 months after opening. Dark colored glass or tin containers help to prevent the oil from going rancid. The enemies of EVOO are heat, light, and age. Store in a cool dark place, away from the stove and do not refrigerate. 

Recommendations: Buy from a grocery store near you. Then you don't need to worry about excessive heat exposure during shipping. 

COOC approved California Olive Oils are abundant and priced to move. Cobram Estate's EVOOs are sold in most grocery stores. Here's a link to find where you can buy them at a store near you! 

Australian Certified Brands sold in grocery stores near you, right side of page "Supermarket Brands". They also recommend Cobram Estate's Australian version of EVOO! 

Olive Oil Lovers is a good way to shop online and find high quality global varieties by region, like this one: ORO Bailen Spain Olive Oil. I also like the way you can sort by volume of polyphenols! While they’re bitter in taste, polyphenols are powerful in health benefits!

Ovvia Members see the RESOURCE section of the Member’s Site for more of Emerson’s Recommendations! And be sure to watch the videos in the OVVIA’s Member’s Library all about Healthy Oil and Healthy Fats vs. Unhealthy Fats. 

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