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Olives and Honey (Oh My)

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  • Olives and Honey (Oh My)

    First, the word that honey-laundering was corrupting the US supply of honey:
    Tests Show Most Store Honey Isn't Honey

    Now it sounds like olive oil is also suspect:
    Author: You may not like what’s lurking in your olive oil | Berkeleyside

    I remember reading about less-than-genuine olive oil in Sally Fallon's book, but I just assumed it was Fallon being an alarmist.

    I buy my honey almost exclusively at TJ's or local beekeepers, which means (according to the articles I've read) that I'm getting the real deal. I never trusted cheap honey anyway -- something so labor intensive should NOT be on sale for $1.99 a quart.

    I don't know about the olive oil I buy for cooking, though. Sure, I buy the good stuff for salads from a local, reputable source. And I don't cook with olive oil much anymore anyway. But it looks like if I want to guarantee I'm getting the good stuff, I need to keep my Costco membership.

    Any other gotchas lurking out there in the food world we should know about?
    Steph
    My Primal Meanderings

  • #2
    I've never tried the Costco oil. The containers are so big I worried it would go rancid before I used it all. Though it does come in a can, so the light exposure is less. I wonder how the foofy olive oil I buy at Whole Foods stacks up.

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    • #3
      I get so angry when I hear about stuff like this. I read an article a long time ago about a company in china that would take used cardboard and cook it up and mixed it with noodles that they sold. These people actually sold their consumers cardboard to eat!! WTF.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by biancaaa View Post
        I get so angry when I hear about stuff like this. I read an article a long time ago about a company in china that would take used cardboard and cook it up and mixed it with noodles that they sold. These people actually sold their consumers cardboard to eat!! WTF.
        China has produced some alarming infractions of quality over the years.
        Food safety incidents in the People's Republic of China - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

        My favorite is the soy sauce made from human hair.
        Steph
        My Primal Meanderings

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        • #5
          Originally posted by onalark View Post
          China has produced some alarming infractions of quality over the years.
          Food safety incidents in the People's Republic of China - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

          My favorite is the soy sauce made from human hair.
          Wow... I thought it couldn't get any more disgusting and then I read this part:

          "Because the human hair was gathered from salon, barbershop and hospitals around the country, it was unhygienic and mixed with condom, used hospital cottons, used menstrual cycle pad, used syringe, etc."

          condom & pad "soy sauce" makes human hair soy sauce seem almost gourmet by comparison, lol

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          • #6
            I always knew that commercial pasteurized honey-look-a-like stuff was no good - now I can feel a little better about spending more for local stuff. Thanks for the link - it was good (and scary).

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            • #7
              So how do I find out if my olive oil is any good? I buy it in bulk at Sam's and it says it is cold-pressed... But according to that article, what it says and what it is may not jive.

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              • #8
                That is scary. I'm going through a big tin of Bertolli right now. That's usually what I buy. Oy.

                So the breakdown is this: don't buy large, mainstream olive oil brands and buy extra virgin olive olive oil from California, NOT imported from another country...which I would have thought the exact opposite! From now on, I'll just buy olive oil at Trader Joe's sourced from California, which is where the company is based. I'm assuming TJ's has decent olive oil as their honey passes muster.
                Don't put your trust in anyone on this forum, including me. You are the key to your own success.

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                • #9
                  Same here. I was shocked that the Wal-Mart brand scored better than the Star I have in the cupboard at the moment. I'm debating tossing it...

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by BrassyDel View Post
                    So how do I find out if my olive oil is any good? I buy it in bulk at Sam's and it says it is cold-pressed... But according to that article, what it says and what it is may not jive.
                    What I've heard is that you can put it in the fridge. If it hardens, it's olive oil. If it doesn't, it's adulterated.

                    But honestly, I'm not sure this "test" works with adulterants like hazelnut and sunflower oil. So...I don't know. Like honey, there's no one really testing this stuff. You have only the manufacturer's word, and that's clearly meaningless with many companies.

                    I like olive oil as a flavoring (salads, finishing soups and sauces), but I cook with it less and less. First off, it doesn't have a high smoke point, so it's really only good for sautees anyway. Second, the volatile flavors are lost if you heat it, so why cook with such an expensive ingredient? When I do buy olive oil, I pick up a pricey bottle from local manufacturers and treat it like a flavoring agent, not a cooking oil.

                    For cooking, I am trending more and more toward animal fats, ghee, and coconut oil. I know where they come from, and I get the steam-deodorized coconut oil, so it tastes pretty neutral. (The non-deodorized stuff is awesome, too, but I again treat it like a flavoring oil. Or mix it with almond butter. Yum.)

                    I really need to make more tallow soon. That stuff's awesome.
                    Steph
                    My Primal Meanderings

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                    • #11
                      Anyone know if UK E.V. Bertoli is also bad? It's all I buy.

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                      • #12
                        Thanks onalark! I hadn't heard that before and I will try it. I generally use olive oil to drizzle on salad or steamed veggies, and sometimes I saute with it. I try not to cook it, but it makes sliced sausage taste straight up divine.

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                        • #13
                          I don't agree witht he suggested prohibition on imported olive oil. Find a good dealer that knows what he's selling. You're going to pay for it but it's worth it. Chances are he's been to the groves.

                          Thank regulations. The more there are, the more people will try to find creative ways around them in order to just stay in business.
                          Read. The. Book.

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                          • #14
                            I'm not sure anyone was suggesting a prohibition. I, personally, do not use much olive oil for cooking anymore. I use other fats (butter, ghee, tallow, bacon drippings, coconut oil) because I'd much rather save my carefully prepared and locally produced olive oil for my salads, where I can taste the yum.

                            The article actually says that Kirkland oil tested well, so if you need a big bottle for cooking, get thee to Costco. I do use about 50/50 oilve oil/coconut oil in my mayo, and that's where I would really miss it. But again: not a heat application, there for the flavor.
                            Steph
                            My Primal Meanderings

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                            • #15
                              A final follow-up on this. I just got a response from Trader Joe's after writing them asking about their olive oil. Here's what they said:

                              Dear Steph,

                              Thank you for your email. We would like to extend our apologies for the delay in our response due to our extremely high volume at this time of year.

                              Trader Joe's works very closing with our suppliers to assure that we are receiving quality products and that our labels are meeting the 100 percent of their claims.

                              Every bottle of Extra Virgin Olive Oil at Trader Joe's is from the first crush first press of the current crop. Our Olive Oil Buyer personally selects every olive oil blend on our shelves. She travels to Italy, Spain, Greece and Australia's olive groves during the harvest season, meeting suppliers and taking part in the process of putting together each of our high quality olive oils. This is an integral part of how we buy our olive oil. By being involved at this level we can ensure the quality of our Olive Oils.

                              In addition, we subject our olive oils to testing by an independent lab to ensure that their level of acidity equals that of Extra Virgin Olive Oil as Determined by the International Olive Oil Council Standards. Plus, We also do our own testing on a quarterly basis.

                              At Trader Joe's we require FDA regulated GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices) and HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) program of our vendors. HACCP is a systematic approach to identifying, evaluating and controlling food safety hazards. In addition, our Quality Assurance Team audits our vendors on random and scheduled visits to monitor their facilities and practices on an ongoing basis.

                              We believe that quality along with price is essential to the value of our products and we got to extreme measures to make sure we are bringing you the best of both.

                              Regards,
                              Nikki
                              Customer Relations
                              Give that, Trader Joe's continues to be the place I get my olive oil from. Their honey tested well, and I expect their olive oil to, too.
                              Steph
                              My Primal Meanderings

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