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Know Your Olive Oil!

posted Jan 29, 2016, 9:24 AM by Old Lex Mercantile, LLC   [ updated Jan 29, 2016, 9:44 AM ]
If you haven’t seen the 60 Minutes segment about the agro mafia and fraud in the olive oil industry (aired January 3rd, 20
16), it’s definitely worth watching:


This is a stark reminder that you can’t always trust the label when you buy olive oil.  So how do we know the extra virgin olive oil we sell at Old Lex Mercantile is authentic?  

First, we buy directly from olive oil importers, who buy directly from olive oil producers they know and trust.  There are no “middle men” involved.

Second, these producers submit their olive oils for third party lab analyses.  They share their independent lab reports with our importers, providing details of the chemical analyses and validating the authenticity.  (And we are happy to share copies of these reports with you.)

Third, the olive oils we carry are bottled on the producers’ estates and sold only in sealed bottles (or tins).  This ensures the “chain of custody” from tree, to bottle, to our store shelves, is clear and direct.

Here's what one of our olive oil producers has to say on this topic:

“With [our] centuries-old philosophy deeply engrained in our way of doing things, the products found under the Marqués de Valdueza label are produced with the utmost care and hygiene. The result is that our olive oils have been consistently guaranteed as extra virgin by competent third party laboratories every year since their appearance in 2002. The extent and detail of the analyses we have performed [to attest to the extra virginity of our oils] are unsurpassed in the market today.  Our oils contain only extra virgin olive oil produced by mechanical means from our own estate-grown olives. We control every step of the cultivation, harvest, transport, and production of our oils.  [Y]ou can be sure that the thousand year old Álvarez de Toledo family name guarantees their unadulterated purity and wholesomeness.


And here are a few words from one of our importers:

“Our small olive oil producers are not interested in selling their oil as a commodity.  Our producers submit lab tests and sensory tests. More importantly, they win major competitions with the same olive oil (exceeding lab standards) and they excel at producing great olive oil.  There’s no tampering with our gems. And, quality doesn’t come cheaply. ‘If you’re paying seven bucks or eight bucks for a bottle of Italian extra virgin olive oil,’ he [Guy Campanile with 60 Minutes] says, ‘it’s probably not Italian extra-virgin.’

Indeed, a great olive oil is an investment.  Please make sure you know what you’re buying before you spend the money.