Everyone from health experts to Rachael Ray has touted the benefits of olive oil. As demand for expensive, higher-quality olive oil has grown, however, so has the problem of fraud. Last year, Connecticut officials discovered that some of that state's olive oil was a little too slick. As a result, beginning next month, the state will be the first in the country to set quality standards for olive oil. The state's new regulations prohibit additives and define virgin olive oil as "obtained from the fruit of the olive tree solely by mechanical or other physical means . . . which have not undergone any treatment other than washing, decanting, centrifuging and filtration." California and New York have expressed interest in enacting similar standards because counterfeit olive oil poses a potential health risk to consumers. Some people experience adverse reactions from unscrupulous olive oil, possibly as a result of food allergies to soybeans, tree nuts, and peanuts.
Often, when I'm buying cooking olive oil, I look for bargain prices. Now I'll take more interest in the brands that I choose. Will you do the same? Does this type of criminal activity surprise you?