Sunday, February 26, 2012

Screwing with the Virgin: Soap Box Sunday 2-26-12

You really do have smut on your minds, don't you? Seriously, what did you think this post was going to be about? 

It is about something that has in its time, been considered more valuable than rubies, more sought after than  gold and more useful than a second husband - I am writing about olive oil - or more specifically, Extra Virgin Olive Oil. There is a good chance that the EVOO in your pantry right now is bogus! 

First, a quick lesson in the food of the Roman Gods: Olive oil has several grades from Extra Virgin to Olive Pomace. Extra virgin is made from the first pressing of the olives; pressed without chemical or mechanical means. By the time you get down to Olive Pomace you have oil made from olive crud and solvents to ooze out every bit of rancid waste from the pulp of the olive. 

One thing more: something I and perhaps you have hitherto assumed and taken for granted as true: a bottle of olive oil - of any size and grade, labeled as 100% OLIVE oil is all olive oil. 

Go, go right now to your pantry. pull out your bottle or can of olive oil. Does it read 100% Virgin, Extra Virgin or Olive Oil. Does it read Italian Olive oil? 


If you purchased your olive oil in the United States, either on sale or from a warehouse store and especially if it is in a large container, chances are even IF it is a name brand of olive oil; that oil will be a mix of olive oil, soybean oil, other oils and added coloring to make it appear as extra virgin olive oil. 

Aren't there laws and regulations in place to protect us from such practices? Yes. Is anyone guarding the hen house? NO! And that ladies and gentlemen, is the reason for my getting on the soapbox today. 

I try very hard to keep things out of my body that do not belong there. Soy is a big no-no in my life. Soy causes me to be dangerous to the unsuspecting public when gas erupts from my body. Soy does  not cross these lips and reach my hips except in teenie, tiny quantities. At least, that is what I thought. After all, reading labels is easy: if the word soy appears: caveat emptor. For this is not only a matter of keeping the pounds off, it is keeping the health good and the gas in check! When the label does not accurately and honestly list what is in the product how am I (are we) to protect ourselves from what lies within? 

Author Tom Mueller, (blog: has written a book exposing the (his words) 'sublime and scandalous world of olive oil.'  It is an eye opener, a jaw dropper and it might make you throw up in your mouth a little. Afterwards you will want go back to the pantry and toss out the big half gallon jugs of olive rot bought at that unbelievably low price at CostsoBJsSams. Who says you don't get what you pay for? 

Tom Mueller helps us by listing the name brands that dilute their olive oil with not-olive-oil and sludge. He shares information on why the olive oils I had been purchasing do not have the health benefits expected. By the time it is in my pantry it has been heated, treated and if very often diluted. 

And that is why today I rant. I feel violated. 



Unknown said...

Very interesting! Thanks for this information. I really had no idea about this! I'd better go check my olive oil bottle!

:-) Marion

Jane Cartelli said...

Remember: doesn't matter what the label says - check the book and his blog.

Vickie said...

maybe you said and I missed it, do you use a lot of olive oil?

Jane Cartelli said...

I use it with vinegar for salad dressings. I use it in marinades and in pesto, tomato sauce. I never have more than 2 tbs in a day, usually much less.

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

As soon as I head downstairs I'm checking out my bottle of olive oil. And his site. Thanks for the information!

Caron said...

It's always something. I looked at the price of a couple of the recommended olive oils and there is no way I'll pay $49 and more for a bottle of olive oil. Back to moderation in all things, even moderation.

Jane Cartelli said...

Caron, you are right. moderation is ALL things means moderation in moderation. However, for me, I do not eat fast food or buy snacks on the fly. I choose not to eat out pr waste money on empty foods. In my life I have paid $50 for a bottle of wine, why would I not pay it for a bottle of excellent EVOO - it will last longer than a bottle of champagne or a $50 chocolate assortment. My last binge was $63.00 at Cheesecake factory. I think the oil will be worth more than the cheesecake.

Anonymous said...

Wait. Even if it sez 100" EVOO it may not be?

I went and looked at mine (I have two different bottles - both from Costco).

One: Kirkland Extra Virgin Olive Oil (produced from 100% Italian grown olives - First cold pressed)

Two: Kirkland Signature Toscano Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Tuscany. (Protected Geographical Indication - Oct/Nov 2009 harvest)

The only ingedient in either is extra virgin olive oil.

That is not olive oil?
Yep. totally confused.

I can't remember what we paid. Both are products of Italy.

One I use for salads or where oil taste features prominently, the other for sauteing.