The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is warning customers that their olive oil might not be what they think it is—and that a poor European harvest could result in serious illness.

While we often hear stories about ‘fake’ extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), major Canadian media outlets (CTV, CBC, etc.) are reporting this latest story as a public health warning. And we believe it is.

“Our customers sometimes ask us if our EVOOs or our infused olive oils contain seed or nut oil, and our answer is always absolutely not,” explains Denise Tucker, owner of Olive Oil Co. and an olive oil sommelier. “Many of our customers have severe nut allergies, so it’s important that we—both our staff and our customers—know that our EVOO is just that: free of ‘secret’ ingredients. Our EVOOs have one ingredient. Olives.”

Even the ingredients of our infused oils are straightforward: garlic infused olive oil, for example, has two ingredients—olives and garlic. Same with our herb blends like Milanese Gremolata infused oil, which contains a delicious blend of olives, lemon, parsley and garlic. That’s it.

A poor European harvest has given rise to CFIA’s concern that what appears to be olive oil may be cut with seed or nut oil in order to maintain production numbers. People with allergies should be particularly wary of purchasing big-brand ‘EVOOs’, because the ‘filler’ ingredients are not likely to be listed on the label. For example, chlorophyll, deodorizers and other chemicals are routinely added—to create better colour and a more palatable flavour to an inferior product.

The CFIA has recognized Olive Oil Co. Inc – Barrie and Newmarket with its Safe Food for Canadians License, and we welcome testing and tasting of all of our premium products.

If what we’re hearing is correct, this latest CFIA warning goes well beyond a quality issue; rather, it is a full-blown health alert.

“Issues like these are just another reason for purchasing EVOO from a reputable dealer,” says Tucker. “Our products—and our customers—are never at risk because we track the lineage of each olive oil and balsamic we carry.”

Story By Catherine Kenwell

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