Let’s take a good look at the original 2010 UC Davis report that was widely misinterpreted and ended up creating a cottage industry of false and misleading claims about Bertolli olive oils.
Most of the articles headlined “14 Fake Olive Companies are Revealed Now” rely only on this single study and a single statistic from it to back up their claims about Bertolli, as well as damning a number of other brands from Europe and elsewhere in the world.
The UC Davis report stated that 69% of olive oils imported to the United States failed to meet IOC/USDA standards for extra virgin oil, based on a sensory test – taste and smell – and that 86% failed a chemical examination. It said all of the olive oils produced in California, except one, passed the tests with flying colors.
To non-experts, that certainly made it sound like the big brands were peddling adulterated olive oil under false claims about its purity.
But, if we look more carefully at the study, which is what many of the people posting about fake olive oil in their blogs neglected to do, we can see that several fundamental points were ignored.
WHAT YOU DIDN’T SEE IN THE FAKE OLIVE OIL BRANDS STUDY
First, the way the segment of the study conducted in Australia was handled was highly questionable. Here’s the part of the report indicating that the samples were sent to Australia via a basic, conventional FedEx shipment – hardly what we would call secure or scientific.
Australia analysis. “On November 12, 2010, the UC Davis olive oil research project team shipped 134 unopened bottles (18 samples of seven brands and eight samples at one brand) to the Australian Oils Research laboratory in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. The samples were shipped by FedEx and were five days in transit.”