The Strange World of Olive Oil

Olive Oil. The food of the Gods. But not so God-like at your local supermarket.

As happens so often in life, I chanced on an video about Olive Oil that talked about the benefits of this seemingly ordinary oil and it’s history. That video led me to more in-depth articles, to books and news stories that opened my eyes to the complex world of food politics, fake and adulterated olive oil products and olive wars going on for millennia. I also found out that I had never actually tasted real olive oil!

I found myself on a journey that was surprising and delicious all at once. And I have no regrets in this latest adventure I find myself on. The following is my personal journey and represents my findings and opinions on what I have discovered to date.

The deeper I dug into this subject, the more I felt like the character, Neo in “The Matrix“, tumbling into the rabbit hole as the world of miracles from olive oil collided directly with the Mafia, corporate giants, ancient Roman and Syrian royal police squads inspecting old trading ships and the strange world of tasters who hack and cough their way through grading the flavors of olive oils.

After my Red Pilling into the Olive Matrix and starting to conduct my research I was surprised to see that olives are related to cherries and plums and that Olive Oil is a fruit juice. It has a very short life span in the bottle and is best kept cool and out of light to insure it is well protected. It is meant to be USED and in large amounts to be both healthful and flavorful.

Olive oils are used as a pour on flavor enhancer or oil to cook many foods. They alter the flavor  and bring out richer flavors from the food rather than if it was merely consumed as a standalone product. The polyphenols and antioxidants in the oils are what is behind all of this benefit to other foods tastes and transformations into exceptional food at the table.

Olive Oil was referred to as “the food of the Gods” in Greece and around the Mediterranean and it was precisely it’s amazing health and culinary qualities that gave it this well deserved reputation. However, that God-like quality is elusive and hard to catch for the average person. Good things take work and Olive Oil makes you work for it’s riches.

For much of the eight millennia history of Olive Oil there has been a recognition of just how amazing this substance is and the health benefits to be had from consuming it in large amounts. Olive oil also has a dark side however. It is all too easy to “cut it” with inferior oils or outright fake it and collect big profits at the expense of the consumer.  It’s a safe bet that most of you THINK you have extra-virgin olive oil in your kitchen. The vast majority of you do not have the real thing sitting on that kitchen counter. We’ll cover this in depth in this article.

It is a shame that most of the population had never experienced high quality Olive Oil, but, as with so many secrets of late, the truth about this substance is finally spilling out more and more. People are finding their way to true Olive Oil and enjoying it’s benefits and are forcing the creation of good quality oils that are worthy of their kitchens and foods.

How Olive Oil is Made

The following video shows a very quick introduction to the world of Olive Oil and how it is grown and harvested. The video presents a “best face” of the industry and this was the video that launched me into my appreciation of the good, the bad and the ugly of this industry once I began to explore the world of olive oil.

Of course a simple Google or YouTube search will provide more information, but this video below is an excellent first introduction to the topic.


Some terminology to help the reader with the discussions to come. Not to be patronizing but to be sure the terms used receive their full impact as you read on specifically as to how they related to Olive Oil.

1. Adulteration – The act of adulterating, or the state of being adulterated or debased by admixture with something else, generally of inferior quality; the use, in the production of any professedly genuine article, of ingredients which are cheaper and of an inferior quality, or which are not considered so desirable by the consumer as other or genuine ingredients for which they are substituted.

2. Fake – Having a false or misleading appearance; fraudulent.

3. Virgin – Fresh, unspoiled specifically : not altered by human activity.

What IS Olive Oil?

Olive oil is more than just some boring substance. It is full of flavors and surprises and is THE base of most of culinary creations. So it pays to know WHAT it is before we go on to discuss it further.

Olive Oil is defined by Wikipedia as follows :

Olive oil is a liquid fat obtained from olives (the fruit of Olea europaea; family Oleaceae), a traditional tree crop of the Mediterranean Basin, produced by pressing whole olives and extracting the oil. It is commonly used in cooking, for frying foods or as a salad dressing. It is also used in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, and soaps, and as a fuel for traditional oil lamps, and has additional uses in some religions. The olive is one of three core food plants in Mediterranean cuisine; the other two are wheat and grapes. Olive trees have been grown around the Mediterranean since the 8th millennium BC.

The oil is graded as follows (source: Wikipedia):

Virgin means the oil was produced by the use of mechanical means only, with no chemical treatment. The term virgin oil with reference to production method includes all grades of virgin olive oil, including Extra virgin, Virgin, Ordinary virgin and Lampante virgin olive oil products, depending on quality (see below).

Lampante virgin oil is olive oil extracted by virgin (mechanical) methods but not suitable for human consumption without further refining; “lampante” is the attributive form of “lampa”, the Italian word for “lamp”, referring to the earlier use of such oil in oil lamps. Lampante virgin oil can be used for industrial purposes, or refined (see below) to make it edible.

Refined olive oil is the olive oil obtained from any grade of virgin olive oil by refining methods which do not lead to alterations in the initial glyceridic structure. The refining process removes colour, odour and flavour from the olive oil, and leaves behind a very pure form of olive oil that is tasteless, colourless and odourless and extremely low in free fatty acids. Olive oils sold as the grades Extra virgin olive oil and Virgin olive oil therefore cannot contain any refined oil.

Crude olive pomace oil is the oil obtained by treating olive pomace (the leftover paste after the pressing of olives for virgin olive oils) with solvents or other physical treatments, to the exclusion of oils obtained by re-esterification processes and of any mixture with oils of other kinds. It is then further refined into Refined olive pomace oil and once re-blended with virgin olive oils for taste, is then known as Olive pomace oil.

Standards as defined by the International Olive Council

Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade of virgin olive oil derived by cold mechanical extraction without use of solvents or refining methods. It contains no more than 0.8% free acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste, having some fruitiness and no defined sensory defects. Extra virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries; the percentage is far higher in the Mediterranean countries (Greece: 80%, Italy: 65%, Spain 50%).

According to International Olive Council, median of the fruity attribute must be higher than zero for a given olive oil in order to meet the criteria of extra virgin olive oil classification.

Virgin olive oil is a lesser grade of virgin oil, with free acidity of up to 2.0%, and is judged to have a good taste, but may include some sensory defects.

Refined olive oil is virgin oil that has been refined using charcoal and other chemical and physical filters, methods which do not alter the glyceridic structure. It has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.3 grams per 100 grams (0.3%) and its other characteristics correspond to those fixed for this category in this standard. It is obtained by refining virgin oils to eliminate high acidity or organoleptic defects. Oils labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are primarily refined olive oil, with a small addition of virgin for taste.

Olive pomace oil is refined pomace olive oil, often blended with some virgin oil. It is fit for consumption, but may not be described simply as olive oil. It has a more neutral flavor than pure or virgin olive oil, making it unfashionable among connoisseurs; however, it has the same fat composition as regular olive oil, giving it the same health benefits. It also has a high smoke point, and thus is widely used in restaurants as well as home cooking in some countries.

More on the grades of olive oil can be found from California Olive Ranch.

What is NOT clearly defined is how often the classification system for olive oil is abused to indicate that EVOO is genuine even when it is adulterated with inferior oils. Often, old olives that are rancid are used in the creation of the final product with processing done to remove bitter tastes. This effectively destroys the healthy qualities of the olive oil.

With that processing, out go the healthy factors and so too the taste that make olive oil special. in fact the processing often turns the product into other than “Extra Virgin”. In fact, most of the oil on the supermarket shelves is “Lampante virgin oil” and it more suitable for lamp oil than in your food.

Where did the EVOO grading system come from? That is a long story, but the upshot of it is that the International Olive Council defined the classification system decades ago and what arose from this was a much abused standard that is almost meaningless to the consumer at the end of the product line.

The council is a creation of the United Nations. For those who know what I mean when I say this, it explains a lot when you know this fact.

This new grading standard opened the doors to the situation we are now in and with little oversight and regulation to keep the quality high and demand accountability.

It was recognized fairly quickly that the IOC standard was practically worthless and thus others stepped in to try to grade olive oil with something more meaningful. The “3E standard” was developed to be more representative to the consumer who has to choose from a field of products masquerading as “quality” oils. It is good to see people in the business trying to regulate the quality themselves rather than depend on outdated and useless standards crafted to benefit a few.

As defined in the Olive Oil Times: “The international group, Association 3E, certifies oils in Italy, Spain, Greece and California as super-premium,” a higher standard than extra virgin.” In addition to the absence of sensory defects, the oil must be evaluated for positive attributes by a designated panel. The producer must sign a code of practice that requires traceability and transparency of the volume of the oil certified and sold under that certification, as well as the quality of the product.

I found it telling that I could not find the Association 3E web site, save for one with the same name in France that is likely not related to this organization. 3E appears to be pushing slowly and inexorably to change the industry and are doing it from the perspective of the consumer and the real growers and producers who want to make a quality product. Quality sells and more and more people are demanding it.

Suffice to say, until the population wakes up and sees the truth, the big players will do what they always have done and keep churning out what many critics define as “lamp oil”. Which is what most folks actually have become used to as being “olive oil” and toss on salads and cook with. It’s a sad thing to see but the times, they are a changing.

The Great Lie of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The olive oil industry places it’s entire faith and political weight in promoting their products as “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”.  Indeed, the global industry is very much attuned and attached to the use of this term as a means of convincing the average customer that what they are buying at the supermarket is the highest quality grade of oil.

In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Many (but not all!) of the supermarket oils available are not high quality oil but are in fact not meeting the standard as the average consumer would expect when they choose an oil off the shelf at the market.

Anyone can put a label on something and call it what they want. And without oversight and enforcement of standards, the industry gets away with it daily. The enforcement agencies of most governments are just not equipped to watch EVERYTHING. So it is up to the buyer to be sure of what they are getting.

One side of the olive oil business is filled with a confusing panorama of players who range from corporate interests producing a product that is not the high quality oil it is advertised to be and finally Mafia figures bent on creating 100% fake olive oil (and turning a quick buck before disappearing) .

On the other side are the ethical businesses doing it right. Ranging from purists and food junkies who are seeking the ultimate true oils to small farms and modern day pioneers pushing technology to the edge to get the best oils that can be made. For them, it is their mission to make the public aware of just how mislabeled most Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO for short) really is and to educate people to get the most for their money when buying olive oil.

Recent news shows just how easy it is for the consumer to be scammed by low prices and convincing labels. The Olive Oil Times related a typical case where seven people where arrested in Greece for olive oil fraud, selling their product for half the going rate, close to the city of Larissa which is located in the northern province of Thessaly.

Per the Olive Oil Times: “The four family members along with three other relatives were charged with defrauding the state, issuing false documents and money laundering. Authorities said they were also involved in criminal gang activities. The prosecutor’s office confirmed that all seven involved in the operation will be present in court later this week to undergo further questioning by the magistrate.

This is unfortunately an all to common occurrence and the amount of fraud and mislabeling being perpetrated on the public ranges from small time operations like this.

The problem is that there exists the softer crime of misrepresenting olive oil ranging right into corporate boardrooms and governments who turn a blind eye to the problems with olive oil adulteration and the lack of transparency as to the source of the harvest, it’s date of harvest and what the bottle of oil actually contains. It’s a way to make billions with only a little work to get more dollars out of the consumer while providing less quality. Important point: Not ALL corporations engage in these practices. It is up to you to learn who is honest and who isn’t.

The sense I get from all of the research is that some olive oil giants aim low because the demand is so great for the product that they can’t hope to provide the high quality product in the right amounts to the consumer. In effect they water it down to accommodate the masses with an oil they can call “olive oil”. I could be wrong in my theory and that the real reason it is more about profits but stories I read  alluded to this being the real issue. There is only so much good oil to go around. It’s hard to say what the truth is. The bottom line is that quality sells but it costs money and it is likely that the big labels cater to the lowest common denominator to sell product and keep the consumer happy in their ignorance. Some people are perfectly happy with lower quality products because it is what they are used to and can afford. If this indeed is what the big “secret” is, then it would be best to have these things be up front and center so the public is in the know.

Personally, if there isn’t enough oil to go around, the answer is to fix it with more orchards plus a big dose of public truth and let the market settle the matter. But hey, I’m just speaking from my own limited view and not from the chair of a CEO who has to push this stuff by the truckload out to the stores.

It is just wrong for consumers to be led to believe they are getting quality product from “reputable” companies whose labels once meant quality and are just now an empty shell of the their former selves. As we have seen since 2020 with the events that have gone on, agencies and companies we once thought to be above reproach have now turned out to be rife with corruption and payola to look the other way rather than do the right thing. What is now becoming clear is the sheer extent of this across most of the marketplace but again, it does NOT comprise ALL companies. Again, there are good ones out there and a little work on your part will find the good companies that deliver on quality and promises.

Olive Oil deception isn’t a recent phenomenon

The deception and adulteration surrounding olive oil has gone on for the better part of five thousand or more years. Evidence of this is found in records dating back to the Roman Empire and far beyond to many other ancient civilizations. Records in what is now  modern day Syria show that anti-fraud squads under the employ of royal authority were busy keeping olive oil pure. More evidence of this fraud was even seen in ancient Egypt as well.

Where Olive Oil was sold and transported, much like today, organized crime and deception followed.

The Roman empire was quite aware of the practice of “cutting” the oil with lesser seed oils (which still goes on today)  and acted to counter the illicit practices with a heavy hand and through the use of systems that still find use today.

As stated in an article on ancient food fraud by Dr. Sabine Bonneck, “Reports from the physician Galenos indicate that dealer in the ancient Greece added fats of inferior quality to olive oil.”

Ancient Greece was not alone in this criminal abuse of public trust with olive oil. The Roman Empire dealt with the outfall of this kind of corruption and developed a uniquely effective system for controlling their foodstuff quality.

A Dressel 20 amphora with examples of tituli picti and potters’ stamps found at Monte Testaccio

The Roman method of dealing with adulteration of olive oil and other products was to seal the food  containers with Titulus pictus inscriptions to combat fraud. A titulus pictus is a commercial inscription made on the surface of certain artifacts (such as amphorae). The inscription specifies information such as origin, destination, type of product, etc. Where do you think the idea of product transparency and labeling came from? The Romans were far ahead of their time with their practices and ideas.

Tituli picti are frequent on ancient Roman pottery containers used for trade.that were shipped around the Mediterranean with special stamps that indicated the type of oil, weight and properties of the oil in such a way that the oil was much less likely to be interfered with.

Quoting an article at Mashable on the Roman practices with anti-fraud measures as detailed by author Tom Mueller in his book “Extra Virginity”: “Amphorae discovered upon Italy’s Monte Testaccio reveal that anti-fraud measures were firmly in place back in the day. Each container of olive oil was stamped with the precise weight and quality of its precious contents along with details about the farm where the olives were pressed, the shipping merchant who imported the oil, and the imperial official who signed off on the veracity of all this info. Upon arrival, the amphorae would be checked again, to verify neither the quantity nor quality had changed during the voyage. Ironically, as Mueller underscores, the ancient Romans were seemingly more thorough and efficient in their anti-fraud measures than we are in the 21st century.

In researching this article, it is noted that in many countries, a death sentence awaited those who cut down a perfectly good olive tree in ancient times. So it is pretty clear that adulteration of food met with at least some form of less than savory punishment across much of the Empire. It is also quite clear by the fact the punishments for killing an olive tree needlessly were so harsh that it indicates the equally immense value placed on olive trees and their products across the region.

Thus, the current situation with olive oil is not at all surprising given the historical abuses we’ve covered. However, today’s consumer is seeing many more problems with store-bought olive oil than what was available in ancient times. The consumer is many more steps removed from the orchard by the processors and distributors in the global supply chain who completely remove nearly all of the  benefits of Olive Oil in their quest for a single common flavor that they call “olive oil” but which loses it’s complete identity and healthful qualities in the process!

Olive Oil at the Supermarket

As noted in the video above, an estimated 70 to 80 percent of the so-called Extra Virgin Olive Oil consumers purchase at their local supermarket is not, in fact, true Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

In Italy, much of the industry was tarnished after an expose’ of the deceptive and criminal practices that surrounded Olive Oil production and distribution surfaced after the writing of the book “Extra Virginity” which detailed in depth what the public does not know about a seemingly “pure” product like Olive Oil.

The author, Tom Mueller, traveled the world investigating the history and highly deceptive world of Olive Oil production and distribution as well as to speak with purists and small farmers who are engaged in a life and death struggle with the mass distribution outlets who are more interested in profits and turning out a less than honest grade of oil than in producing what was once described as “the food of the Gods”.

Such PR damage was done to the industry in Italy that the government now strictly monitors the crop production and tests regularly to insure people are getting the real thing and not old or adulterated products instead. There is another solution to solving such issues. The free market choosing the winners and losers on the basis of quality. That is the real solution in the end. Customers know when they are getting value and when they are not, once they know what to look for.

The video below, from 60 Minutes was some of the first education of the American public of the realities of olive oil in the marketplace. Tom Mueller, author of Extra Virginity is interviewed and speaks plainly about what he found in his travels and interviews.

The reaction by the public to the 60 minutes investigation and subsequent news reports on television and in print was sharp and notable. People began to ask a lot of questions and began to take an interest in finding out what they were adding to their food. As a result, governments and most certainly the industry sat up and took notice, if only for a short time.

100% Fake Olive Oil

60 Minutes did additional investigation and in depth and found out just how easy is is to create 100% fake olive oil with simple chemicals and inferior oils in minutes. The small-time criminals do this more often than the big producers and often can produce oil, sell it and then fold up shop before the authorities can catch them.

It is such a big business to adulterate or produce entirely fake olive oil that it is called “liquid gold”. All is takes is to hold onto the market is to keep the public permanently deceived and “educated” to not question the lower quality food they are being fed. Such is the way of the entity some call “The Agro-Mafia“. This entity is not only an Italian phenomena, but elements of this affect the global food supply chain. One only has to look at the practices of some corporate giants to see parallels.

Sometimes the news gets it wrong

In the research about the 60 Minutes report that was broadcast, it was noted that the report gave viewers the perception that ALL Italian producers of Olive Oil are engaging in mislabeling practices regarding the oil grade and the origin of harvest. As pointed out below the discussion needed a clarification.  Di Alfredo Foods Director of Sales and Marketing, Thomas Sheridan shared his thoughts that there ARE companies doing the right thing and should be recognized for this. The ones doing the right thing deserve our business. The ones not doing the right thing… well… your wallet can stay shut to them.

Just because it is a major news program doesn’t mean they get all the facts right. In some cases, there is an agenda at work at worst and at best, an unintentional portrayal that doesn’t fit the reality. So it pays to look at both sides of the issue and to be fair.

Oh no, not the refrigerator test!

A common “test” for fake olive oil was promoted all over the Media which consisted of putting some olive oil in the refrigerator to see if it congealed. If it does, then the test was supposed to indicate that this was “fake” oil.  The test received mention on the Dr. Oz show in 2016 and garnered a lot of attention. The “test” is not quite accurate and is not the way to tell if your oil is good or not. Dr. Oz, to his credit, DID say the test was not foolproof but a lot of web sites and people repeated this test as “proof of fake olive oil” and the method is still out there being repeated as “fact”. The rest of his story on the problems with olive oil in the U.S. was spot on and caused quite a stir and landed Dr. Oz in some hot water but which ultimately, he prevailed on in court.

Per the Olive Oil Times: “The North American Olive Oil Association called the home test “completely false and misleading.” Almost any oil will solidify at cold temperatures, depending on its chemical compounds, and even within the EVOO category, factors such as olive variety and time of harvest, will affect solidification”.

The North American Olive Oil Association (AOOA) sued Dr. Oz in the state court in Fulton County, Georgia. The Association sought damages and payment for the group’s legal fees. The lawsuit accused Oz, who hosts the syndicated “The Dr. Oz Show,” of violating a food libel law when he asserted on his show that 80 percent of the extra virgin olive oil imported into the country “isn’t the real deal” and “may even be fake.”

The judge agreed with Dr. Oz’s point of view and tossed the case out and said Dr. Oz did not harm the industry and had, in fact, spoken factually and was joined by other journalists who had published much the same information as Dr. Oz.

The word “fake” is what reportedly triggered the lawsuit. Evidently, speaking truthfully about mislabeled products causes some to take exception and to single out those who cross that line.

Just remember, there are powerful interests who are defending their profits out there. And they don’t like attention to be shone on them. Equally powerful people who want to do the right thing do shine that light and with that, they change the world for the better.

Professional Tasters and How To Taste Oil For Yourself

There are professional tasters out there who represent government watch dogs, big companies, independent organizations and the food industry in general who actively test olive oil for reasons as myriad as there are stars in the sky.

But this isn’t an arena that you are excluded from. Learning to taste and grade olive oil is a skill that people can develop for themselves as noted in the video above. YOU can take control and be the one to declare an oil as good or bad and change the fortunes of the companies producing it!

A tried and true “test” from the site “Olive Oil Lovers” is to do the following:  “Pour a small amount of olive oil in a cup, warming the cup with your hands. Placing a hand on top of the cup, gently move the oil around the inner sides of the cup to open the aroma. Take your hand away and place your nose over the inside of the cup and smell the aroma. It should have a pleasantly fruity and/or grassy smell. If it has an unpleasant odor like crayons, dirty socks, mold, vinegar or motor oil, you know you have a very poor oil.”

The best way to detect an inferior EVOO is to test it against REAL olive oil. Once you try a real olive oil that is made from fresh oil, you won’t go back to the old oil you were buying from the grocery store. Yes, it is THAT easy and dramatic. I only recently discovered real olive oil and it has transformed my eating experience. In fact, I have utterly replaced store bought mayonnaise with olive oil in my house and am tossing out many foods that are polluted with soybean and other lesser quality oils in favor of olive oil.

I tested my own long-time brand I had been buying against Lucini, a premium oil and was shocked at the difference between the two oils.  The quality was immediately evident in the Lucini brand but the name brand I had been using was a pale shadow of the real thing and even tasted slightly rancid and musty.

Additionally, I just received an amazingly well packaged bottle of Corto, grown here in California where I live and all I can say is OMG, what an oil! Both brands changed my point of view and are my starting point into quality oils.

I’ll never go back to the empty corporate names. And to be clear, I make NO money from mentioning these companies. I’m a consumer sharing my view of two oils I have discovered and there are plenty more I’ll be trying!

I won’t say the name of my old brand but it is a major name I bought based on the label and it was a brand I recognized as being a major player for years. I just thought all olive oil was the same. And I’d bet most people don’t give this subject a second thought as they grab a bottle from the shelf at the market and believe they are getting high-quality oil.

After that taste test, I have since started using that old supermarket brand of mine for what it should be used for: Lamp Oil.

Your wallet holds the real power!

You CAN find good oil in the Supermarket

Good oils DO exist in the supermarkets, but you have to use care and really look for the good brands. Make sure that it does NOT sit out in the light and heat of the market aisle. Olive oil should be kept in darker conditions and kept cool but not refrigerated.

Many oils have dark colored bottles to shield the oil and this helps them resist degradation. I’ve noted that the better brands package their oils in boxes to keep them dark and I store them back in their boxes between uses at home. I would look for a supermarket that keeps their oils near the freezer or refrigeration areas to take advantage of the cool temperatures and select those who really put the effort in their packaging.

Finding GOOD Olive Oil

What it comes down to is detective work. Pure and simple. The best oils are either locally grown and from small orchards where you buy direct or online from near and far once you verify that the product is what it claims to be. The best method is to go direct to the farm to get your product. A simple search of my local area provided me with links to amazing farms nearby!

I recently discovered Corto whose massive farm not far from me here in Northern California has one of the most technologically advanced olive oil facilities in the world and produces an exceptional oil. They have broken all the rules with reinventing how their trees are planted and harvested and they advertise that they get the olives harvested from tree to the bottle in 8 hours flat!

Again, I recommend you explore vendors like these, both big and small and you’ll be on an amazing flavor journey with a variety of flavors and types to fully round out your kitchen. Oils are like Wines in their complexity and flavors and need to be treated as such.

There are also great producers overseas who make it their mission to make good oil and to educate the public. They are lonely players in a large pond of inferior oil at cheaper prices. Pay attention to reviews and get to know the industry web sites to learn who is good and who could stand for improvement.

A second factor to look for is price. Good oil isn’t cheap. You DO get what you pay for and what so many of the crooks in this business say in passing (and who laugh at the gullible consumers of their products) is the old term of Caveat Emptor which is Latin for “Let the buyer beware”. The other old saying that applies is “There is no such thing as a free lunch”. If you want quality, you pay for it.

I will reiterate: Cheap Olive Oil isn’t.

The other option is to grow your own and produce the oil yourself. It is not out of reach of the ordinary person! The video below shows just how easy it is. And you’ll be able to say you made your own brand of Olive Oil!

An additional point with olive oil is that  buying it in large amounts is NOT recommended since the oil has a short shelf life. There are some oils packaged in such a way as to be kept from oxygen and in specialized containers that allow up to 3 liters of pure goodness to be kept for longer periods. Just keep the oil out of light and kept cool to maximize it’s shelf life.

Use the oil liberally and ENJOY IT! It is meant to be consumed and to add to the flavor of your foods! The average Greek and Italian household uses it in massive amounts. One study mentioned that the average Greek eats somewhere around 5 to 6 gallons of the oil each year! And they seem to be a very healthy people for it!

Use your consumption of the oil as a means of exploring your local and quality overseas markets to get to know the growers and producers and to try new oils.You will begin to develop long-lasting relationships with the HONEST producers and people as a result. What a nice way to make friends along the way and help preserve the legacy and livelihoods of these people and businesses as well!

Health and Olive Oil

The following list from the Olive Wellness Institute  details the benefits people can get from olive oil

  1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a Fantastic Source of Antioxidants and Healthy Fats.
  2. More Olive Oil Could Help Reduce Your Risk of Heart Disease.
  3. Olive Oil May Protect Against Stroke.
  4. Extra Virgin Olive Oil May Help Lower Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
  5. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the Best Cooking Oil.
  6. Cooking With Extra Virgin Olive Oil Can Make Your Food More Nutritious.
  7. Olive Oil Consumption May Improve Bone Health.
  8. The Compounds in Olive Oil May Protect Against Certain Cancers.
  9. A Diet High in Extra Virgin Olive Oil May be Good for Brain Health.
  10. Olive Oil Can Contribute to Health and Longevity.

Literally, there are no down sides to using good olive oil in your daily life. It all comes down to using REAL FOOD in place of the chemical cocktails being fed to us by the corporate sharks.

Tips for using Olive Oil

Tips for using olive oil range from keeping it out of the light and FAR away from heat except at the time you are cooking with it (more on this later).

The video below shares some good basics that will make your life a lot more pleasant with olive oil.

Olive Oil and Cooking

If you want to start a fight, just mention in mixed company that you cook with olive oil. It’s a fair bet that there will be a purist who will come out with fighting words to denounce you for daring to mention such a travesty! In fact, olive oil is one of the better oils to cook with, but you can’t convince people with facts in many cases and they need to taste it for themselves.

Let’s just share a bit about using olive oil on the stove and dispel the many myths that come from using it with heat. With some common sense and using olive oil to help in your cooking you should have no problem using it with your basic recipes and it is perfectly safe. YES, the heat does affect the oil and lessons some of the good qualities, but the culinary rewards in taste also balance this out. In the end, it comes down to personal preferences and experimenting to see what works best for you.

Per Wikipedia: “Olive oil resists thermal degradation and has been used as a frying oil for thousands of years“. That pretty much sums it up for me. I’ll take olive oil over any of the newer oils that are proving to be far less safe to use in the kitchen and which have demonstrable negative effects on health.

The video below shares good and relevant information on Olive Oil in your cooking.


It has been my intention here to wake you up to the deceptive practices that go on in the supermarkets. Often the chains don’t even realize that the products they sell are often mislabeled or misrepresented as being one thing and turning out to be quite another.

My earlier reference to the “Olive Matrix” turned out to be a red pill that catapulted me into a complex, rich and surprising world I had not expected to find, but which changed my life by launching me into using MORE olive oil as a result. The industry needs to recognize that quality sells!

I started this journey with the curiosity of a child and ended up outraged at the sheer corruption and indifference of our regulatory agencies. I was equally dismayed at the seemingly hopeless trance that most of the public is in with regard to their health and food. And finally, I was angered at the “Agromafia” criminals behind the scenes who are operating with impunity and completely protected from prosecution by their powerful friends and networks who put profits over safety and health.

This sort of practice of adulterating and mislabeling olive oil has been going on for thousands of years and the only way to fight it is through education and awareness. Still, it can be awfully daunting to see just how vast the ocean of lies are that run through our food networks and which most of us are unaware of.

A lot of good is being done out there with regard to food awareness and the beauty of olive oil is that anyone can find good locally grown or imported oils that are far better than any mass produced oil. It truly is David versus Goliath out there. It takes work to find the gold. In this case, liquid gold. For us, the gold is in the flavors and wonderful health benefits. For others, it is in the profits from producing either  good or bad oil and choosing a side to occupy in this ancient olive war over quality versus profit.

My Own Olive Orchard To Be and More

I have a olive tree that has seen hardly any attention in recent years, I do intend on pruning my tree and seeing what I can coax it into producing for me. I will cover this in a future article. I intend on planting a few more here to round out my own private label and enjoy the process.

I will be featuring olive oil in my upcoming videos and to insure I keep the message up about good foods.  As I mentioned earlier, a good read on the amazing history of Olive Oil is “Extra Virginity” by Tom Mueller. As of this writing, I am halfway through the book and it is captivating and a revealing look into the good and bad sides of the Olive Oil business. I highly recommend the book.

Tom had a web site dedicated solely to the book with sections dedicated to news, blogs and useful articles for the consumer, but he pulled the site down sometime in 2019. The site can still be explored on for those wishing to get a good sense of what Tom had to say and share. My sense is that he garnered a lot of attention, both good and bad, in his exploits but he also, like so many of us, move on to other vistas. However, his bold action has created a world full of aware people who are making their own quality olive oil and marketing it locally or globally. It is clear that people WANT the good stuff and are willing to pay to get it. All because one man stood up to tell the truth.

How do you, the reader, get great olive oil?

What can you do to change the status-quo of olive oil? Do as I am doing. Spend the dollars on good oil. Pass on the bad stuff and tell your grocer you won’t be buying the crappy oil. Tell your family and friends what is going on. Once enough people walk away, the producers will have to face reality. It will take time, but it will happen. Visit Olive Oil bars and farms. Talk with people in the know. Contact the good and even bad sellers and tell them what YOU expect and want. Buy locally produced olive oil and short-circuit the oil mafia!

Visit this archived article on HOW TO BUY GREAT OLIVE OIL by the author of Extra Virginity. The information you’ll get is timeless and useful. I’d recommend printing it out or scraping the text to save someplace.

The supermarket should be a place you get great food, but it is clear that with corporate interests, often controlled partially or completely with less than honest influence, that the consumer faces daunting choices with food fraud in what should be a safe place to buy their food.

Growing it yourself or through direct purchase from known and quality growers is the best means of getting real food you can trust.

With that, I wish you well on your own journey of discovery and hope you find real olive oil to savor and health benefits to boot! — Jon site logo – Visit this site for more information from an amazing book on Olive Oil, Fraud and the Fight to keep Olive Oil available to the world.

Links to Olive Oil Resources – The now defunct web site archived in perpetuity of the book “Extra Virginity” by Tom Mueller. This site has tons of great material that is timeless and useful.

NPR Interview with Investigative journalist Tom Mueller  – A 3 minute interview that does a great job of giving a good overview of the subject of olive oil fraud.

The Olive Oil Times. – A great resource with current news and features on all things in the world of Olive Oil. This is the place to find everything happening in the world of olive oil.

OliveOil.Com  – A new site dedicated to reviewing and testing olive oil brands and providing useful and new information to insure the consumer gets real and relevant information on olive oil.

Olive Oil Lovers – A site that sells all manner of oil but also with comprehensive information and amazing blog articles to share and learn from.

Olive Oil Source – The Olive Oil Source strives to be and is recognized internationally as the most comprehensive resource for products, trends, and information on everything related to olive oil. Whether you are a producer seeking information on the latest equipment, a retailer of olive oil related products, or an olive oil lover, our goal is to have “Everything but the Olive” available for you.

The Olive Wellness Institute – The Olive Wellness Institute is a science repository on the nutrition, health and wellness benefits of olives and olive products, which is all subject to extensive peer review.

The Real Reason your Olive Oil is Probably Fake – A great article on the Agri-Mafia and how they have influenced most of the Olive Oil market.

Oils I Like and Use

As I am just starting my journey, I have found two so far I like, but will be adding to this list as time goes on. Again, I’m just an end user and make NO dollars on sharing what I like.