Olive Oil

As new and exciting an ingredient as olive oil may be—in our kitchens, on our salads, on restaurant tables—it is also complex and can be difficult for consumers to understand. The terminology is imprecise (virgin? extra-virgin? pure? light?). Myths and legends abound, all too often crowding out the facts. Olive oil, particularly extra-virgin olive oil, is a product that is open to misrepresentation and outright falsification by producers, whether by deceit or simply by not meeting expected standards. So when charges of deception in labeling, mishandling, and out-and-out fraud are leveled—and they have been constantly leveled, going back to the time of the Roman Empire, if not before, many U.S. consumers turn to canola oil or butter or old-fashioned margarine as a safer, more ...

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