The Olive Oil Scam

  • This 2016 Forbes article states that 80% of Italian olive oil is fraudulent, claims that consumers are contributing to the fraud problem, and cites bacteria as a reason that fraudulent olive oil has become so commonplace.
  • “A study last year [2015] by the National Consumer League found that six of 11 bottles of extra virgin olive oil from three major retailers—Whole Foods, Safeway and Giant—failed to meet extra virgin requirements.”
  • “‘America is the dumping ground of all those fraudulent operations,’ Gaea’s David Neuman explained. ‘There are not enough resources to control the over 350,000 tons of olive oil entering the country. That’s why, even after the scandals, adulterated olive oil bottles are still on supermarket shelves. Although consumers are embarrassed to admit it, they are supporting the situation,’ he says. ‘The chain stores keep buying because it sells and everybody has become addicted to the low prices.'”
  • “The situation has been exacerbated by Xylella Fastidiosa, a bacteria that kills olive trees – one million so far in Puglia, the largest olive oil producer – and threatens to extend to the rest of Italy and other Mediterranean producers. The bacteria, compounded by bad weather, has devastated Europe’s olive harvest and raised the price for authentic olive oil by as much as 20% across the continent.”

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