Best quality olive oil is Extra Virgin, crushed, stirred, and strained (mechanical processing), but NO solvents, chemical extraction, or heat treatments. EVOO has better flavor, higher levels of antioxidants, and more health benefits than lower grade olive oil. EVOO is not cheap: the supply is smaller than other types of oils and demand is increasing.
Cheaters use lower grade, refined olive oil or substitute cheaper oils (canola, sunflower, etc.) to stretch the supply (and make more money for themselves). These oils do not have the same antioxidant health benefits as EVOO and do not have the same flavor/taste; they go rancid faster.
In 2018, independent testing in Spain found that HALF of the “EVOO” products tested were not Extra Virgin. A previous study in the U.S. found that 69% of imported olive oil was not EVOO as stated on the label.
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