14TH ANNUAL CHOICE
10 OCTOBER 2019
(Some) olive oil brands
Shonky for being only a little bit virgin... (Some) olive oil brands
CHOICE tested 28 brands of extra virgin olive oil and found half were not as ... well, virgin, as they should be. The majority of the least chaste came from Italy and Spain, and even supposing they'd left their respective countries with their virtue intact, their cherries had been well and truly popped before they made it into our shopping trolley.
Some manufacturers vigorously defended the goodness of their progeny, presenting all manner of documentation to prove their integrity and ultimately blaming poor storage for the corruption uncovered. But the fact remains that consumers aren't always getting true extra virgin quality at the point of sale, despite paying a premium.
A voluntary standard is currently being drafted, and while this is a step in the right direction, CHOICE wants "extra virgin" to be regulated under the Food Standards Code, with mandatory requirements that all olive oils labelled "extra virgin" meet basic purity and quality standards for the duration of their expected shelf life, as well as carry a suitable date so that consumers are able to choose the freshest oils.
Unless or until that happens, though, a consumer's best bet for finding a true virgin is to go for the home-grown oils.