Some believe that Olive Oil was in use as far back as 5000BC although the first documented evidence of its use was in Crete, around 2500BC. Olive Oil is ingrained in all walks of our lives, as an essential food substance, for medicinal and healing purposes and as a holy material in churches around the world.
It might come to you as a surprise then that the Olive Oil industry is one of the dodgiest in the world. Or given its popularity and proliferation, maybe not such a surprise. Author and Olive Oil expert Tom Mueller has spent many years researching the Olive Oil industry and his findings culminate in a book describing the fraud and wrongdoings in the Olive Oil industry and particularly in Italy.
The Olive Oil industry has had little global regulation and many large conglomerates have taken advantage of this, with one familiar supermarket brand going as far as launching a marketing campaign to promote premium Olive Oil as tasting “Gentle”, “smooth” and “not peppery on the throat” – we all know that good quality extra virgin Olive Oil must showcase the peppery characteristic or else the Oil has been produced from inferior and ripe Olives. So all this supermarket favourite did, was to create an illusion of premium quality whilst using inferior quality ingredients. This is a classic example of supermarket producers maximising their profit with no second thought to product quality and consumer satisfaction.
It comes as no surprise when we learn that through his investigations, Mueller came across one EU official describing the industry as, “comparable to cocaine trafficking, with none of the risks.”
But this story of corruption and abuse is not only limited to the Olive Oil industry and is commonplace across many food industries, where artisan producers are suffering at the grip supermarkets hold over the food chain here in Britain. Supermarket’s have a notorious tendency to strip out quality to give so called “value” to the consumer, albeit debasing any foodstuff once it becomes popular to the point where the producer has to abuse his animals, sin against tradition or commit fraud in order to stay afloat.
Next time you are shopping for foodstuffs, we hope you will think about what you are buying and the quality of the ingredients you are putting inside your body. The best advice we at Olive Branch can give you, is to shop at your independent food shops as the owners will have taken care to source good quality products made from fresh and superior ingredients.