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Uncovering Food Fraud in the Olive and Avocado Oil Industries

Where’s the vegetable oil in your kitchen? Sitting next to the stovetop? Above the microwave? Tucked away on a pantry shelf next to the baking items?

If you’re fancy, you may have an elegant olive oil dispenser on your dining room table. Many of us use vegetable oil on a regular basis for stir-frying, sauteing, and dressing salads.

If vegetable oils aren’t the most exciting items in our larders, hey, at least they’re dependable. We know what’s in them. And we don’t have to worry about poor quality ingredients.

Well, not so fast.

It turns out that some vegetable oils, and particularly many avocado and olive oils, bear little resemblance to the details on their labels. Many are not of the quality they claim. And some may not even be the oil we think they are at all. Rather, many vegetable oils appear to be the long-time victim of an unfortunately widespread industry scandal called food fraud.