14 Fake Olive Oil Brands to Avoid

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Every food-grade oil requires chemical processing to become edible. Olive oil and coconut oil are the only exceptions.

Olive oil is one of the most used oils around the world because it is the healthiest. Sadly, it is also one of the most vulnerable to scams.

There is a lot of corruption in the olive oil business, which has been going on for a very long time.

So, you want to make sure to get the right stuff by simply recognizing the worst olive brands to avoid at your local grocery stores.

Before we get into which olive oil brands to avoid, you should first find out the terms like olive oil, virgin olive oil, EVOO and types of olive oil.

Olive Oil: is refined and filtered.

Virgin Olive Oil: is not refined and filtered.

EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil): is also not refined and is less filtered.

14 Fake Olive Oil Brands List

14 fake Olive Oil Brands to Avoid

A study at the UC Davis Olive Center revealed that 70% of the major olive oil brands at the US’s local stores have been diluting their oil with cheaper alternatives like soy, sunflower, or canola to increase profits at the cost of our health.

Furthermore, the imported EVOO often fails to meet the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) and international standards.

These low quality olive oils, which do not qualify as extra virgin, may have a number of adverse health effects.

Check out the list of 14 fake olive oil brands to avoid that has failed to meet EVOO standards.

  1. Mezzetta
  2. Safeway
  3. Filippo Berio
  4. Primadonna
  5. Carapelli
  6. Pompeian
  7. Pietro Coricelli
  8. Mazola
  9. Sasso
  10. Bertolli
  11. Star
  12. Whole Foods
  13. Antica Badia
  14. Colavita

Reasons to Avoid:

  • These brands dilute the EVOO with a cheap oil or mixed with lower-grade olive oil that has been chemically refined
  • They use old, rancid, rotten, and inferior olives, which make the tastes bitter, flavorless, fatty, or just not enjoyable
  • The oil is perfumed, colored, and then flavored before being sold as an extra virgin oil
  • Another reason to avoid them is, you can’t find the real source and from which country these olives are coming. It is essential to make sure the source in order to avoid the fake brands
  • Avoid bargain prices on these brands because they are too cheap to be real olive oil

How to spot Fake Olive oil?

Olive oil is one of the most commonly forged foods in the world. Some oils, such as sunflower or soy oil, are often sold as olive oil.

Lower-quality olive oils, which are widely available in local grocery stores, are often available as an extra virgin with wrong labels.

You can identify these fake brands in various ways, such as checking the bottle color that must be dark or tinted, reading the ingredients list on the bottle, third party authenticity label, harvest date, and harvest place.

Don’t be enticed by a bottle or label’s fancy appearance because fake brands tend to do more work on appearance to make the consumer buy it.

Method to Check at home

There is an easy way to test the purity of your olive oil at home.

Put your bottle in the fridge for about 5 hours at 0 degrees Celsius, and then check if oil started to solidify.

If it does, that is a good sign. It indicates the oil you purchased contains exactly what it should.

If the oil remains liquid, it has been diluted with some cheap vegetable oils, and surely it is not an extra virgin.

This test is not completely perfect, but it’s a good place to start initially if you are unsure about your oil quality.

What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

  • Extra virgin olive oil is a food grade oil, which is extracted from top quality olives. In fact, it is the fresh olive juice
  • EVOO is very light and mellow tasting. It has an almost sweet nuttiness and a fruity scent reminiscent of green olives
  • It also has a natural olive taste and is suitable for cooking
  • Its color is oil greenish-yellow or golden green, depending on the type of olive and the growth environment.
  • It has a natural fragrance that smells like fruit and is flavorful and pleasant.

How to Buy Real Olive Oil?

Since many fake olive oil brands exist in the marketplace, you must consider all the important aspects that help you identify the real brand. The followings are the tips on how to buy real olive oil.

1) Check the Harvest Date

High quality EVOO should always include a harvest date. The harvest season for olives runs from October to December. Usually, it arrives in the US early in the new year.

The best used is typically two years from harvest. So, look for oil from olives harvested in the last 12 months and don’t buy older than one year.

If the best-by or bottled-on date appears on the label instead of the harvest date.

In that case, it is a clear indication of ambiguity from the supplier. The harvest date on the bottle tells you about the freshness.

2) Verify Storage Conditions

Heat, sunlight, oxygen, and time have harmful effects on olive oil. When an extra virgin is stored properly, time should be the only thing that affects an unopened bottle.

Light can also be one of the most critical factors if a bottle is under the store’s bright fluorescent lights for many days.

3) Olive Oil should be in a Dark Bottle

Dark glass bottles are better than clear glass to protect the oil from degrading. But they are still not totally protected from light, especially if sitting on the top shelves.

Many companies are protecting these bottles from light with box or bag packaging, which really reduces the oil exposure to oxygen.

4) Find a Trusted Source

It is one of the important considerations while purchasing. Many supermarket olive oils contain oil sourced from 5 or more countries.

An acknowledgeable merchant should be able to direct you to quality sourced products.

So, find a retailer passionate about olive oils who visit the mills to see the process and inspect the quality.

When you buy from a trusted source, you will feel better about the purchase.

5) Check for California Olive Oil Council (COOC) Label

It is a non-profit organization, and they ensure extra virginity. To assess extra virginity, the COOC needs a lab examination as well as a taste test.

Frequently Asked Quesions

Which olive oil has the most polyphenols?

Good quality olive oil has a green, bright, and peppery bite, and that taste is due to the presence of polyphenols.
Olivar Santamaria Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil has the highest levels of polyphenols. But, these bottles are very expensive to buy.

What is the difference between virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil?

The difference between virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil is the amount of processing.
The least processed olive oil is extra virgin olive oil. So, it is cold-pressed, which means it is not treated with chemicals infiltration and heat. It contains high anti-oxidants because olive oil has a lot of polyphenols while maintaining natural color, flavor, and taste.
Virgin olive oil has a little bit higher acidity and is more processed than extra virgin. It is made with riper olives, so the quality is also lower.
The extra virgin olive oil has the highest quality taste in nutritious oil.

Is cold pressed olive oil better?

Cold pressed olive oil is always better because it is the first pressing of the oil without any heat or chemical adulteration. It is done at room temperature, but it is cold pressed without heat to extract more liquid.
This ensures that the oil remains in its purest and most natural state, making it a healthy and nutritious oil with the highest anti-oxidants levels.

Final Words

You deserve to know what you are buying. Trusting those mentioned above, 14 fake brands present a picture that they are taking your dollars under false pretenses and putting your health at risk.

Furthermore, no one knows what chemicals these brands use to make cheap oils look like olive oil.

However, there is no specific federal standard defining extra virgin like there is for organic food. So, you have to be diligent while purchasing and be aware of the worst olive oil brands to avoid.

When buying, do your own research as well. Look for a reliable source and purchase small bottles from them.

15 thoughts on “14 Fake Olive Oil Brands to Avoid”

    • Dear Jeanne

      There are a number of good brands such as California Olive Ranch, Olio Verde, Ellora Farms, and more. But, you need to keep in mind how to spot the fake olive oil brand. So when buying, make sure to check the harvest date, verify the storage condition, the oil should be in a dark bottle, and most importantly, there must be a third-party verification label on it.

      Since there are no specific criteria to inspect the olive oil quality, you can ensure the brand’s quality by checking these parameters.

    • Hi Debra,

      California Olive Ranch, Olio Verde, and Ellora Farms are reputable brands.

      Whether you go to a local grocery store or order online, look for an olive oil brand that meets the standards we listed in this post.
      Such as, Check the Harvest Date, Verify Storage Conditions, Olive Oil should be in a Dark Bottle, and Check for California Olive Oil Council (COOC) Label.

  1. It should be ILLEGAL to mix any oil into Olive oil ! Period…..it is a fraud…..and the companies that do this should be fined and held accountable… the FDA should do their jobs.

  2. I noticed on the back of Pompeian EVOO it has a black stamp that reads ES, TN. and best by, Lot#, Country of Origin. Below that are abbreviations for different countries. I see TN as Tunisia. Thoughts?

  3. If you research articles on “fake” olive oils, you will find that many have their origins in an article published some years ago. Basically, this information has been gleaned and published over and
    over again and has now become internet “truth”. The original article has information provided by the California Olive Oil Council, which in turn is promoting California olive oils. Not quite an independent study, is it? Now, I have nothing against California oils or their Council, but my point is that you should research your information as carefully as you research your olive oil. Oh, and by way, the test of putting olive oil in the refrigerator to see if it is “real” is another urban legend. Many oils begin to solidify at the freezing point of water. So good luck with that. In closing, just by an olive oil that tastes good to you.

    • Hi,

      I hope you are doing good
      No, I don’t suggest Olivita olive oil since it doesn’t meet USDA or international standards.


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