Evaluation of Olive Oil Sold to Restaurants and Foodservice

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The UC Davis Olive Center evaluated 21 olive oil samples sold to the restaurant and foodservice sectors based on the voluntary standards of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and tests that have been adopted by the International

Organization for Standardization (ISO). Their analysis found that:


• All but one of the 15 “extra virgin” samples passed the most commonly used USDA chemistry standards (free fatty acidity, peroxide value, and ultraviolet absorbence) to test quality;

• Despite this high passage rate, 60 percent of the samples failed the USDA “extra virgin” sensory standard, which is a standard rarely used for quality-control purposes in the foodservice and restaurant sectors. Some of the oils were so defective that they were classified by sensory panels as “not fit for human consumption” under the USDA standard;

• All of the “extra virgin” samples that failed the USDA sensory standard also failed the diacylglycerol (DAGs) standard adopted by the Australian Olive Association (AOA);

• Six of nine of the “extra virgin” samples that failed the USDA sensory standard also failed the pyropheophytin (PPP) standard adopted by the AOA;

• Chemical purity tests indicated that one of 15 “extra virgin” samples and one of six “olive oil” samples were adulterated with inexpensive canola oil.


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