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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Rachael Ray Olive Oil Among Brands Not So Extra-Virgin

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 4:20 PM

Rachael Ray-brand EVOO: From yum-o to uh-oh!
  • Rachael Ray-brand EVOO: From yum-o to uh-oh!
If you too fight insomnia with cough syrup and late-night episodes of Rachael Ray's cooking shows, you know the perky, much-maligned crafter of 30-minute meals uses a cute acronym for the fruity green sap she drizzles over her convenience-oriented concoctions. She calls it EVOO, short of course for extra-virgin olive oil, the lifeblood of the Mediterranean. If a study done by the U.C. Davis Olive Center at the university's Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science is to be believed, Ray might not only be annoying ― she might also be inaccurate.

As reported by NPR earlier this week, more than two-thirds of random tested samples of imported, so-called EVOO may have been adulterated, diluted, or otherwise degraded below the standards for extra-virginity. "It's like we have our own CSI: Olive Oil lab here," the lab's forensics manager, Charles Shoemaker, told NPR. He broke down a few of his factors: For starters, spectroscopic studies to reveal oxidation and subsequent rancidity and fatty acid testing to see if any soybean or sunflower has corrupted the olive.

While the North American Olive Oil Association ― which represents importers ― wasn't stoked on the findings, the study's assertion does corroborate what NPR's story calls "mounting concern over truth-in-olive-oil-labeling." Beginning in October, "olive oil from every olive oil-producing country, including America, will be subject to random sampling" off retailers' shelves.

A few of the tainted and popular: Pompeian, Bertolli, Colavita, Filippo Berio, and ― yes ― Rachael Ray's very own brand.

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