I know that this topic may have been discussed before, but it was news to me, and I am afraid may be news to some other people.
I was seduced by the image of using authentic imported oil, from Spain or Italy, with the cute tins and funky names. However, according to tests by Choice magazine, the vast majority of imported oils in Australia are mislabelled, or worse still, old, heat-treated, or even just plain rancid!!
Read the news report here – http://au.news.yahoo.com/today-tonight/article/-/9882492/oils-aint-oils/ . I was initially shocked that they might be selling old or rancid oil, but when I stopped to think about it – extra virgin olive oil is a fragile, perishable product. Shipping it halfway around the world, in shipping containers that I doubt very much would be climate controlled, then it’s no wonder that they suffer for the journey. Not to mention then being stockpiled in some warehouse or other, before finally making it onto your local supermarket shelf. This article by The Age indicates that extra virgin olive oil should never be more than 2 years old. In fact tests show that some imported oils are already that old when they get to us!
So, what can you do? Stop buying olive oil? Thankfully the solution is not that drastic. The Australian Olive Association has launched a site to educate us regarding our Australian Extra Virgin Olive oils. They have facts on Olive Oil, as well as a little logo to look for in the supermarket, to ensure you buy a product that has been rigorously tested to be the best it can be. When you consider the potential health benefits of Olive Oil, not to mention the flavour, don’t sell yourself short with imported Oil anymore!
Ok, I’m getting off my soap-box now. It just really frustrates me to see that people try to take advantage of consumers by selling them a poorly labelled, sub-standard product, when we can support local industry and growers and have all the wonderful flavour we are meant to. It’s that easy! We are already demanding consumer support for our long suffering dairy farmers and the free-range chooks. Time to look after ourselves, our taste buds and our marvellous olive industry as well!