How Is Your Olive Oil Knowledge?

olive-oilThe beneficial role of olive oil in a healthy diet has been proven time and again in studies around the globe and science related to olive oils health benefits continues to evolve. A diet with olive oil as a main source of fat has been linked to health benefits related to cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer, among others. There is also evidence that olive oil helps the body better absorb beneficial nutrients from vegetables and other healthy ingredients in meals.

But did you know that more than half of olive oil users believe that choosing an olive oil is confusing because they are not sure what is important? Not only that but only 25 percent say they are very knowledgeable about olive oil. These findings were revealed in a new study conducted by the North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) which is made up of more than 2,000 olive oil users.

Another interesting fact is that only four out of 10 current consumers use olive oil which accounts for about 15 percent of the retail volume sales compared to other cooking oils.

Olive Oil Facts And Tips

Heres a few statistics that demonstrate regular users lack of olive oil knowledge:

  • Olive oil does not get better with age but only one in four regular users know this.

  • The color of olive oil is not related to the quality but only six percent know this.

  • Light-tasting olive oil does not have fewer calories than other olive oils but only 15 percent know this.


Here are a few more things to know about olive oil:

  • The most flavorful olive oil is extra virgin olive oil and it has an unlimited range of flavors from smooth and subtle to peppery and pungent.

  • Light-tasting olive oil does not alter the flavor of a dish and is almost flavorless.

  • Classic or pure olive oil has a milder flavor with a hint of fruitiness and is perfect for cooking methods such as baking, frying, roasting, grilling and sauting.


What To Look For

Here are a few tips when selecting an olive oil:

  • Look for a country of origin statement, which is required by federal labeling laws and is typically found on the back label near the nutritional information.

  • Purchase bottle sizes to be used within 8 to 12 weeks of opening.

  • Avoid packages that show signs of improper handling or storage such as dust on the bottle, broken or loose seal on the cap or an orange tint to the oil, which could indicate overexposure to fluorescent lighting or that heat has damaged the oil.

  • Pay attention to labels and choose the type of olive oil that is best suited for the intended use. Choose a best-by-date that is as far out as possible. With proper handling, olive oil can keep in a sealed package for up to two years.

  • Dark bottles or tins are best at reducing potential damage from light, especially for extra virgin olive oil.

  • Look for brands with a Global Quality/Authenticity Seal such as the NAOOA Quality Seal.


New Standards

New standards concerning the labeling and grading of olive oil produced in California were recently approved by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA). The aim of California olive oil producers is to differentiate their products from imported olive oils which they feel are often substandard. But the NAOOA claims that the California standards lack scientific rigor. They state that these standards rely heavily on taste testing, which has given inconsistent results and has been debated as a biased grading tool. The NAOOA claims the CDFA also doesnt include purity testing which is a critical foundation for quality monitoring. Even though the standards took effect Sept. 26, 2014, the CDFA does not have an implementation plan in place.

There remains a lot of work to be done to help make olive oil a mainstay in kitchens across the U.S., says Eryn Balch, executive vice president, North American Olive Oil Association. The nations top food and nutrition experts have embraced the health messages about olive oil already. Now we hope theyll be a key part of addressing consumer confusion, debunking myths and fostering a better understanding of olive oils taste, versatility and well-documented health benefits. Our aim is to help food and nutrition experts do what they do best - translate from the textbook to the table and debunk myths that persist, as well as be sure they are aware of new confusion from the distracting California regulations.

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