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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Olive oil fraud rampant, say news reports

According to a story aired yesterday on National Public Radio's All Things Considered, the Italian extra-virgin olive oil business has become so lucrative that adulterated olive oil has become the biggest source of agricultural fraud problems in the European Union.

Olive oil is sometimes mixed with "lamp oil" — made from spoiled olives that have fallen from trees and can't legally be sold as food — or other types of vegetable oils, including soy and canola. The FDA doesn't routinely test olive oil for adulteration, NPR says.

An even more detailed account of olive oil fraud appears in the current issue of The New Yorker. The incentive is certainly there: One investigator told writer Tom Mueller that the profits from dealing in adulterated olive oil are "comparable to cocaine trafficking" without the associated risks.
M. Zane Grey, 8:34 AM