Last night, Kolbotech on Channel 10 was finally able to air their olive oil investigation. Apparently, the segment had been blocked by the courts, but the ban was lifted yesterday.
And they have caused an uproar. We all know that olive oil has made it into the news nearly as much as honey - fake olive oil abounds, the world over.
Kolbotech revealed that not only are we being sold fake olive oil here in Israel, but we are being sold olive oil that contains toxic substances. Yes, some of those pricey, fancy olive oils claiming to be pure are low quality oils, unfit for human consumption. Quality testing for the show was done in Spain.
The show focused on two importers: איבו and חוסן, who were found to be selling olive oil that is unfit for human consumption as premium olive oil. Among the brands that are rebottling EVO oils are "Gaya" and "Adama". The problematic oils include some that are sold as Extra Virgin Olive Oil, as well as Cooking oil.
There is a way to avoid the fake and unsafe oils: Purchase the brands that they tested that appear to meet quality standards - Zeita, Etz Zayit, Shufersal, Yad Mordechai, and Meshek Ahiya. And if you can't get those, the bright light at the end of the tunnel is the Olive Leaf seal of quality. It is only given to domestic oils, so if you buy imported olive oil, you will have to do additional research to be sure you are not buying a fake or dangerous product.
Interesting fact: projected domestic olive oil production for this year is 19,000 tons - which producers are claiming should suffice for the entire population. Perhaps it's time to support local producers! (My problem with that is it is sometimes MUCH more expensive than imported versions, but now, it seems, we know why...)
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