Momentum in the Mountains 2024


The Olive Oil Scam that You Need to Know About

author avatar Dr. Eric Berg 07/04/2024

You know, for years, I used olive oil without thinking twice. It was just…olive oil. It wasn't until I went to Italy that I realized how wrong I was.

There, the olive oil was vibrant, with this incredible green color and a flavor that could only be described as peppery and fresh—a far cry from the bland oil I was used to back home.

That experience sparked my journey to discover the secrets of authentic olive oil.

Since then, I've learned a lot about identifying the real deal. Let's just say the truth about olive oil is eye-opening. In fact, many of the olive oils on supermarket shelves might not be as "authentic" as you'd think. There's a good chance you've unknowingly been using counterfeit olive oil, and you wouldn't be alone. Many use olive oil in their recipes daily without knowing they're purchasing counterfeit olive oil.

Unmasking the Counterfeiters: Why You Need to Be Cautious

There's a dark side to the olive oil industry—corruption. It's an issue that's been plaguing the market for a long time.

Many large-scale producers blend lower-quality oils, like organic extra virgin olive oil, with other oils to cut costs, compromising the flavor and health benefits in the process.

The FDA has even gotten involved, cracking down on these counterfeiters. That’s why you need to be discerning and arm yourself with the knowledge to spot authentic olive oil, such as Mandranova Olive Oil.

Virgin olive oil

How to Spot Authentic Olive Oil

The hunt for authentic olive oil starts with understanding what to look for. Here’s a breakdown of essential factors:

1. Labels Matter

Look beyond marketing jargon on labels. Don't fall for fancy bottles or misleading phrases. Remember, it’s not about pretty packaging; it’s about what’s inside.

It's advisable to research before you buy to determine which olive oil brands are authentic and worth your money.

2. Extra Virgin Is Key: But Don’t Stop There

"Extra virgin" signifies the highest quality of olive oil. It's produced through a cold-pressing method, free from chemical processing or refining. This means that no heat was used during the extraction process, unlike virgin olive oil, preserving all of the natural flavors.

However, this label alone isn't a guarantee of authenticity. It helps to narrow down your search, though.

3. The Harvest Date: Your Key to Freshness

This is where things get tricky—and interesting. Look for the “harvest date,” not just the “best by” or “bottled on” date.

Some companies engage in deceptive practices. They mix oils from different harvests, making it difficult to determine actual freshness.

Always prioritize the harvest date. The freshest oils are bottled immediately after harvesting, so a recent harvest date indicates a higher-quality oil.

You will get a much tastier experience if you use your olive oil within a year of its harvest date, such as olive oils from the winter harvest.

4. Third-Party Seals: A Mark of Trust

Certifications from reputable organizations, like the ORO BAILEN, add a layer of trustworthiness. These seals, often displayed prominently on the bottle, show the oil has met specific quality and purity standards.

5. Origins Matter: Seek Out Specifics

The origin of the olive oil matters a great deal. It's like wine—different regions have distinct soil and climate conditions that affect the oil's flavor profile.

Authentic olive oil will often mention the specific region, estate, or producer. Look for details such as "Made in Italy" or "Product of Greece." Bonus points if it pinpoints a specific region known for its olive oil production, like Tuscany or Crete.

Beyond the Label: Sensory Tests

Now comes the fun part—using your senses. Authentic olive oil offers a multi-sensory experience:

1. Color: A Vibrant Hue

The color of authentic olive oil can vary from a vibrant green to a golden yellow, depending on the olive variety and ripeness at harvest. Olive oil color can vary greatly, so color alone should not be your only indicator.

2. Aroma: A Symphony of Scents

Gently swirl the oil in a glass to release its aromas. You should notice fresh, fruity, and slightly peppery notes.

Some even describe a hint of grassiness or artichoke, signifying the presence of antioxidants. A high-quality extra virgin olive oil will be bursting with aromas that fill your senses.

3. Taste: The Real Deal Breaker

Take a small sip, coating your palate. High-quality, authentic olive oil should have a slightly bitter, pungent taste at the back of your throat, indicating freshness and the presence of polyphenols. The tasting notes will vary depending on the type of olives used.

Low-quality or rancid oils might have a flat, greasy, or even metallic taste, which is a sure sign to ditch that bottle. If the olive oil doesn't have much of a taste, it might be an indicator that the olives were harvested too early in the season.

Go Beyond the Grocery Store

You're more likely to find high-quality olive oil in specialty stores or directly from importers who work with reputable producers. Many online retailers specialize in olive oil and offer a curated selection from award-winning farms worldwide.

For example, you may want to consider looking into an Olive Oil Shop.

Trust me; I’ve found my favorite authentic olive oil this way. Direct-to-consumer brands often bypass traditional distribution channels, meaning fresher oil and fair prices.

There are also Olive Oil Tasting Events where you can sample different kinds of olive oils and become acquainted with their different flavor profiles.

Experience Authentic Olive Oil: A World of Flavor and Benefits

Choosing authentic olive oil isn't just about gourmet experiences.  It’s an investment in your health.  These oils contain powerful antioxidants like polyphenols, which give the olive juices their health benefits. 

Studies have shown polyphenols help protect against heart disease and even cancer. Plus, authentic olive oil adds depth and richness to your favorite recipes, transforming dishes from ordinary to extraordinary.

The polyphenol counts in olive oil are highest when they are fresh, so using a recent harvest is recommended. Authentic olive oil can also be used topically on the body. For example, you can use a Tallow Body Balm made with olive oil.


What is an example of an olive oil that is not extra virgin olive oil?

There are a number of different types of olive oil other than extra virgin. An example of one would be Organic Picual. It has a much more intense flavor and can add a lot to your dishes. You can also use an olive oil from a Multicultivar Blend.

These blends can be delicious when made with quality olives.

What is a fun fact about olive oil?

Olive oil has been a staple in Mediterranean diets for centuries. They attribute their good health and longevity partly to the generous use of olive oil.

Are there chefs that use a specific brand of olive oil?

Yes, some chefs will only use one brand of olive oil. For example, Chef Jennifer Thornton uses a specific olive oil in her famous Jalapeño Ginger Turmeric recipe.

Olive Oil Unveiled

Authentic olive oil boasts a rich, fruity aroma, a robust flavor, and a slight peppery finish, all indicative of its purity and health benefits. Checking for labels like "extra virgin" and certifications from reputable organizations can help ensure quality.

Using high-quality olive oil in recipes like olive focaccia enhances both flavor and nutritional value, delivering a deliciously authentic experience. By selecting genuine olive oil, you not only elevate your culinary creations but also reap the full spectrum of its health advantages.


Navigating the world of olive oil can feel like walking through a maze.  Don’t be discouraged, though. 

Armed with the information from this post, you’ll become a confident buyer, recognizing authentic olive oil like a pro. You'll soon be able to differentiate real olive oil from fake olive oil.  

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