The Fake olive oil story about Bertolli – Have you seen it?

It’s quite a tale, about skullduggery in the food industry, about marketing trickery and disdain for consumers, about a lurking menace called fake olive oil. The story is international in its scope and damning in its accusations.

But it’s a tale that hangs by a single precarious thread – a misleading lab report that ended up to promote one segment of the olive oil industry at the expense of another. And that thread has been woven through an uncritical blogosphere and social media so many times that it’s become a tapestry of untruth.

The story has been circulating for a while now, usually under the headline «14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Revealed Now». And it’s stirred up considerable interest among consumers, not least regarding the way olive oils can be adulterated.

People everywhere began searching online for answers to their questions: What olive brands are fake? What are the olive oil brands to trust?

The phenomenon certainly caught our attention, because what the article has to say about Bertolli Olive Oil is absolutely false.

What’s been circulating is fake news. So please allow us to clear things up.

14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Revealed - chapter 1
14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Revealed - chapter 1

About 12 months ago, various articles began to surface online, all with the tantalizing headline “14 Fake Olive Oil Companies are Revealed Now” or some minor variant on that. And what disturbed us most was that Bertolli was always mentioned in the article, sometimes complete with a branded image of the bottle.

It was deeply concerning to Deoleo to see Bertolli included in this character assassination – a 150-year-old brand and the world’s top-selling name in olive oil, which has won more than 16 coveted industry awards for quality already just in 2018.

And it was an outrage to see Bertolli included in this character assassination – a 150-year-old brand and the world’s top-selling name in olive oil, which has won more than 16 coveted industry awards for quality already just in 2018.

So, we published a statement on our website, saying these stories were nothing more than a clickbait campaign. We hoped that would be the end of the matter, but then it got worse.

Over the next few months, the “olive oil fraud brands” story spread further, first through blog posts and then in Facebook ads, a ploy that made it seem as though many people were sharing it.

It became clear that we’d have to do more to counter the campaign and protect our reputation. False rumors, after all, always spread faster than good news.

First, some context. Bertolli was founded in 1865 in Lucca, in Italy’s Tuscany region. It was one of the first extra virgin olive oils to be exported to the United States and the many other countries where Italians migrated in the century and a half since. They knew the product well and were pleased to have it in their adopted homelands, a fond reminder of their origins. And they were happy to pass on its benefits to their new neighbors.

This is a history of which we at Deoleo, the parent company of Bertolli and other fine and genuinely popular olive oils, are quite proud. So it was extremely dismaying to see the continuous spread of misleading information and the ongoing denigration of our products with unchallenged claims about fake olive oil.

The origins of this false testimony lie in a 2010 study by the University of California, Davis, in which imported olive oil brands like Bertolli were tested alongside brands made in that US state to determine whether they were actually “extra virgin” as claimed.

The study set out to show the buying public which were the olive oil brands to trust and which were the olive oil brands to avoid.

With its claim that most of the imported brands were “virgin” oil, not “extra virgin” oil, the resulting report triggered dozens of breathless “news” stories on food blogs and on those websites that deal only in clickbait lures. The report also said all but one of the Californian brands were deemed genuine extra virgin.

Unfortunately, the people spreading these stories largely ignored the limitations of the UC Davis study, gave no consideration to the context, and quite simply got the facts wrong.

So we have prepared this guide to set the record straight, to examine the UC Davis report, and to prove that Bertolli is anything but a fake olive oil. Our intention is to present the facts clearly, honestly, and in as independent a manner as possible, so that you can make up your own mind.

The spurious story about a list of fake olive oils has instead turned into a story about how a highly reputable brand was set up for a hit, was widely and unfairly disparaged, and fought back with pure, unadulterated facts to prove the claims were false, misleading, and mean-spirited. The story is how Bertolli proved that its good name could not so easily be tainted.

In a short video, the CEO of Deoleo, Pierluigi Tosato, shares some insights into how the company, as the world market leader, took responsibility for guiding the industry towards improved practices, from the farm to the shops, and including testing standards. “We have to be certain,” Tosato says, “that nobody can cheat.” Please take a few moments to watch the video here.

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Chapter one

Why Many People Believed the Bertolli Fake Olive Oil Report

The original UC Davis report examined and discredited

Let’s take a good look at the original 2010 UC Davis report that was widely misinterpreted and ended up creating a cottage industry of false and misleading claims about Bertolli olive oils.

14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Revealed - chapter 1Most of the articles headlined “14 Fake Olive Companies are Revealed Now” rely only on this single study and a single statistic from it to back up their claims about Bertolli, as well as damning a number of other brands from Europe and elsewhere in the world.

The UC Davis report stated that 69% of olive oils imported to the United States failed to meet IOC/USDA standards for extra virgin oil, based on a sensory test – taste and smell – and that 86% failed a chemical examination. It said all of the olive oils produced in California, except one, passed the tests with flying colors.

To non-experts, that certainly made it sound like the big brands were peddling adulterated olive oil under false claims about its purity.

But, if we look more carefully at the study, which is what many of the people posting about fake olive oil in their blogs neglected to do, we can see that several fundamental points were ignored.

What You Didn’t See in the Fake Olive Oil Brands Study

First, the way the segment of the study conducted in Australia was handled was highly questionable. Here’s the part of the report indicating that the samples were sent to Australia via a basic, conventional FedEx shipment – hardly what we would call secure or scientific.

Australia analysis. On November 12, 2010, the UC Davis olive oil research project team shipped 134 unopened bottles (18 samples of seven brands and eight samples at one brand) to the Australian Oils Research laboratory in Wagga Wagga, New South Wales. The samples were shipped by FedEx and were five days in transit.

Secondly, we discovered that the study was largely funded by Californian olive oil producers and their own trade body, the COOC. Surely this suggests a lack of neutrality and independence in the research.

We are grateful to Corto Olive, California Olive Ranch, and the California Olive Oil Council for their financial support of this research. We value the leadership of Dr. Richard Cantrill, technical director of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS); the advice of the AOCS Expert Panel on Olive Oil (particularly Bruce Golino, member of the board of directors of the California Olive Oil Council and Paul Miller, president of the Australian Olive Association) and the expertise of Leandro Ravetti, senior horticulturalist and olive specialist at Modern Olives in Australia.

14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Revealed - chapter 1Despite these and other shortcomings, the UC Davis report has been cited ever since as the basis for claims that are demonstrably false or grossly misleading. This was the great hue and cry over “Bertolli olive oil fake”. Those citing it have done so inaccurately to paint a picture of an olive oil industry where fraud is allegedly commonplace.

An additional consequence of the report was the fact that Daniel Callahan, a high-profile lawyer with the firm Callaghan and Blaine, acting on behalf of California restaurateurs and chefs, was forced to withdraw a lawsuit intended to establish that the oils in question did not meet IOC/USDA standards.

The suit failed because it turned out to be impossible to prove.

Here’s a direct statement from the firm’s James Callahan:

Lead attorney Daniel Callahan said that he would not pursue the lawsuit that he had filed on behalf of a group of prominent California restaurateurs and chefs because additional testing conducted by his firm found widely divergent results. “The results are blatantly inconsistent,” said Callahan. “We would not be able to carry our own burden of proof or have consistency from our own experts.

Have a look at this chart showing the results of the study on the samples tested from the Californian makers of extra virgin olive oil.

  • Samples that Failed
  • Samples that Passed

Pie Chart: Page 7 to 8 in the US Davis Report

Only a single California sample failed the sensory standard for “extra virgin” oil. The Californian producers didn’t just pass with flying colors – they were alleged to be nearly perfect.

But, we’re not here to question the purity of California olive oil. We’re here to show you that the “14 fake olive oil brands” story is wrong.

Is the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Study Flawed?

Yes, this study was flawed in multiple ways:

  1. The study was conducted using sensory tasting – in other words, taste and smell, which are subjective.
  2. Chemical testing could not confirm the negative sensory results.
  3. The study used a tiny sample size, which means that the study results are not statistically significant.

At most, this initial study suggested that further research was needed. And further research was conducted – by the IOC. Here’s their reaction to the UC Davis investigation:

For its part, the IOC called the size of the sampling – 52 bottles and 19 brands – to be “not statistically significant.” The statement went on to say that the IOC conducts chemical tests on “some 200 samples of imported oils sold in the United States” each year and, according to IOC findings, anomalies are detected in less than 10% of the imported oils analyzed. Any irregularities are referred to the appropriate association for necessary action.

In another response to the report, the North American Olive Oil Association, together with the IOC, spoke on behalf of all importers regarding the UC Davis report, saying the DAG/PPP methods “are not official chemical methods cited in international olive-oil-specific food or trade standards.”

fake-olive-oil-bloggers-revealed-split

Chapter two

The Second Fake Olive Oil Report You Didn’t Hear About

The UC Davis follow-up report examined and discredited

Equally getting short shrift from the people sharing false information about an alleged “Bertolli olive oil fake” is the fact that UC Davis produced a second report the following year, entitled “Evaluation of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Sold in California”. It was an attempt to fix the problems of the original study.

Here are the facts from the sequel to the study you likely didn’t hear about:

In the July 2010 study, the IOC standards for FAP, PV and ∆K tests were not useful in confirming negative sensory results.

Only 52 samples in total were tested. They were only sourced in California, from a few stores across the state. This was hardly representative of the whole of the extra virgin olive oil business.

The same problem regarding industry funding remains in place, as well as the other flaws in the report detailed in the previous section.

Here’s a synopsis of the second fake olive oil report:

70 percent of the samples from the five top-selling imported brands failed the German/Australian 1,2-diacylglycerol content (DAGs) test and 50 percent failed the German/Australian pyropheophytin (PPP) test. All of the 18 samples of the California brand passed the DAGs test and 89 percent of the samples passed the PPP test. The Italian premium brand failed the DAGs and PPP tests in about one-third of the samples. The Australian brand passed the DAGs test in all cases and failed the PPP test in all cases. The results are even more inconsistent than the original report.

And the IOC reaction was:

Both reports have the same evident undercurrent of aggressive, inexplicable criticism of imported olive oil quality.

The IOC added that, in 2005-2006, its chemists advised against the testing methods used by UC Davis because they considered them flawed.

How the 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Story Rose from the Dead

The “14 fake olive oil companies” story began to spread, and continues to do so today, despite the fact that the study has been thoroughly discredited.

This is almost entirely the result of the rise of clickbait. Mercenary online outfits – most of them registered in Macedonia – who run clickbait websites where browser visits are monetized began picking up the story and spreading its sensationalist (and untrue) content, hoping to mislead social media users into thinking they were being offered a devastating expose of food-industry shenanigans (The city getting rich from fake news).14 fake olive oil companies

Keep in mind that behavioral research, including one study conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), has found that fake news is 70 percent more likely to be shared than is authentic news. Lies have always, often, seemed more interesting than the truth.

Now we have a headline that’s bound to raise eyebrows among health-conscious consumers – “The 14 Fake Olive Oil Brands You Should Avoid” – and there’s even accompanying imagery implying this must be a very dire situation indeed. People are reading the story on the clickbait sites and endlessly sharing or re-tweeting it among their friends and followers.

Olive oil brands that are fake

So we knew now we needed to bulk up our defense. We had to stop this from multiplying and spreading further.

Well, the Internet, as we all know, is often little more than the Wild West and the Whack-a-Mole game combined. You go after one site, and another one pops up somewhere else, and anyway, in the latter stages honestly believing the story to be genuine.

Like any good company or any reasonable individual, we know of course that there’s always room to improve. That’s why we’re constantly looking for ways to develop, to help us make and market award winning products and foster transparency on which our customers can rely.

fake-olive-oil-bloggers-revealed-split

Chapter three

How Bertolli Produces Real Extra Virgin Olive Oil

A behind-the-scenes look at the entire process

Extra virgin olive oilFirst, it’s important to understand exactly what extra virgin olive oil is.

We’re also going to reveal in this chapter exactly how the real judges of quality olive oil see the likes of Bertolli and other reputable names in the industry.

Few important facts about extra virgin olive oil

Many people simply don’t know the difference between extra virgin olive oil and the other classifications of oil.

Extra virgin is the highest quality in the business. This is the pinnacle of olive oil and it’s expensive to produce. Here’s what any good extra virgin oil has to have:

  • No defects at all.
  • The authentic flavor of olives.
  • No solvents and no degradation.

We monitor each and every step in the production process, beginning with the selection of every olive with great care.

This oil can be cold-pressed only once. Otherwise it would be considered virgin olive oil.

Extra virgin olive oil is a major staple of the Mediterranean diet, long regarded as among the healthiest on the planet.

A lot of research has been conducted into the health benefits of real extra virgin olive oil. The main finding is that it actively reduces the chances of heart disease.

How the 14 Fake Olive Oil Bloggers Have Missed the Facts

The furor over the 14 fake olive oil companies isn’t about to prompt Bertolli to change course.

As of this writing, Deoleo olive oils have received 80 awards and honorable mentions, with Bertolli alone taking home 18 awards just in 2018. The bigger awarding bodies in this number include:

What this demonstrates is that the one flawed study mentioning the Bertolli brand has had no effect whatsoever on the judgment of the real industry experts.

Plus, our millions of loyal customers are testament to the continuing success and quality of Bertolli extra virgin olive oil.

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Chapter four

What Makes Real Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

How authenticity is really determined (no, not by ‘the fridge test’)

Let’s dig into the questions of how real original extra virgin olive oil is made, how to detect its authenticity, and what makes it so special.

To blend or not to blend? With apologies to Shakespeare, it’s a question so important to producers of olive oil that it might well give Hamlet pause. There are those who are always ready to mingle the oils, the talented creators who’ve made blending an art form. And there are the monocultivars, those who insist on absolute purity in the production process and the use of a single-source oil.

Deoleo, producer of such fine olive oil brands as Bertolli, Carapelli, Carbonell and Koipe (and Figaro in India), has determined that, in fact, there is no correct answer. The choice depends on the objective and, even more so, on market needs.

The monocultivars, as well as the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI), are adamant about uniqueness in varietal characteristics and territory. They fret about what’s known as “typicality” – conformity to a specific type.

But the chief drawbacks here are that there’s no consistent, balanced definition of what the senses should be experiencing – the so-called organoleptic profile – or consideration for the loss in quality that can result from sudden changes in climate and parasite attacks when a single-source oil has to be used.

A quality product begins with the ability to select the most appropriate raw materials without geographical or varietal or even seasonal restrictions. The production of extra virgin olive oil now extends far beyond the Mediterranean basin. Oils have become available from several countries of the Southern Hemisphere, such as Argentina, Chile, Peru and Australia. This means there is still fresh oil at the ready when the Mediterranean crop has been harvested and some oils are growing a little “tired”.

But what effect does the introduction of secondary-source oil from different areas at other times of the year have on the finished product? This is where the master blender works his magic – in ensuring that there is no noticeable change in the sensorial profile, regardless of variations in the oils’ origins. It’s his job to combine different oils and yet maintain the same final profile: a balanced oil with well-defined character that’s able to satisfy the different sensory preferences.

The blender must know how to replicate this oil over time when there are varying raw materials available.

Let’s follow the master blender’s work step by step:

  • Step 1

    Translate the consumer’s needs into a distinctive masterpiece, the brand’s signature. This entails first defining the character of the blend – for example, harmonic, floral, citrus, with fresh herbaceous notes, with a full body, but not too aggressive in the mouth. Or it might have a more decisive character, with notes of artichoke, aromatic herbs, spices and strong bitter and spicy notes on the palate. The balance between the individual sensorial attributes and their respective intensities must be fully imagined at the outset.

  • Step 2

    Choose the components that can make the desired contributions.

  • Step 3

    Hypothesize a recipe.

  • Step 4

    Evaluate the result of the blending and confirm the recipe – or repeat the exercise until the desired result is achieved.

Fake Olive Oil myth busting by Deoelo Master Blender Anna Cane.

Blending is indeed an art that puts olive oil masters to the test. Flavours from different terroirs, soils and climates have to collaborate and produce a memorable result. Blending is also useful when oils lack their own personality but show an ability to work well in combination with others.

The types of extra virgin oil used can differ in their origin, plantation, genetics or even the time of harvesting. As long as they are somehow different, they can contribute to a blend. The only firm rule is that there must be a definite purpose in the way different olive oil varieties are put together.

The art of blending is combining different elements and obtaining a result greater than the individual elements.

The master blender starts tasting the different elements and then understand which ones can be combined with others. You may have sweet or bitter or pungent flavors, but when they are together they strike a balance.

Underlying the art of blending is a unique product profile with ingredients mixed in a unique combination to match the consumer’s preferences. Blending world-class oils together opens the door to create flavours and experiences unlike anything else.

It is in fact more than art and more than science. Achieving the unique flavors of a blend takes passion, too, and it’s found in all of the superb Deoleo olive oils.

Bertolli has always made a big deal about being completely transparent about the way it produces its oil. The only “secrets” we have are wise and helpful and we are happy to share them.

Perhaps the biggest secret about real extra virgin olive oil is that it’s extremely similar in nature to real virgin olive oil. These are the highest olive oil qualities in the world today, but the “extra virgin” category was a more recent development, added as yet another way to differentiate between the best and the best of the best.

Another Big Secret about Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The reason extra virgin olive oil is so unique is because the extraction process only happens through mechanical means. There are no chemical solvents added, and therefore zero contamination.

Here’s how the extraction process happens from start to finish:

The illustration does not correspond with the machines currently used by the company.

Another big secret is that the olives for virgin and extra virgin don’t come from different kinds of trees. They all come from the same tree:

Both types of oil oils are obtained from the fruit, or drupe of the olive tree (Olea europaea) through a mechanical pressing of the olives and other physical processes (decanting, centrifugal treatment and filtration) in thermally controlled conditions.

As you can see, the olives are always the same. Remember that, in the original news story about the 14 fake olive oil companies, the deeply flawed study claimed that Bertolli “at its worst” was producing virgin olive oil.

The difference between the two types of oil is that extra virgin is produced from the first extraction, using a centrifuge.

You will notice a difference in taste because of this. As the University of California says:

Virgin olive oils. These are extracted from olives solely by mechanical means, without chemicals. “Extra-virgin” olive oil is the highest grade. Industry standards stipulate that extra-virgin olive oil must meet numerous chemical parameters and sensory standards. In a test by a trained taste panel using official protocols, an extra-virgin olive oil will have no defects of aroma or flavor, and some positive flavor of green and/or ripe olives. It is more expensive to produce because of the higher costs at each stage of production, from grove to bottle.

Normal virgin olive oil will have some defects and some differences in the aroma, so it’s relatively easy to tell the two apart when you know what you’re looking for.

How Can You Detect Olive Oil Brands that are Fake?

The fake olive oil stories online aside, it’s fair for consumers to ask how they can determine if they are purchasing quality olive oil.

Bertolli can assist by explaining the four steps we go through to make sure we produce exemplary extra virgin olive oil every time. This represents a promise and a guarantee.

  • Visual Examination

    A visual examination, defining color and clarity. This step is not required by official panel test rules from above-mentioned guidelines

  • Olfactory Examination

    An olfactory examination, defining intensity and persistence, and positive and negative attributes

  • Gustatory Examination

    A gustatory examination, defining intensity and persistence, and positive and negative attributes

  • Tactile Examination

    A tactile examination, defining consistency

The Myth of the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Fridge Test

Unfortunately, another myth that has spread is that you can determine whether it’s extra virgin through the “fridge test”. It’s a falsehood that’s been prominent for years, but now it’s become damaging and misleading.

The fridge test is quite simple. You place your bottle of olive oil in the fridge and wait for about 30 minutes. If the liquid solidifies, the oil is genuine extra virgin. If it doesn’t, it’s something else.

In reality, this is inaccurate. Industry experts and the North American Olive Oil Association are on record as saying this is far from a reliable indicator.

Expert olive oil sampler Richard Gawel explained why the home test simply doesn’t work.

First of all, “Extra virgin olive oils are largely made of monounsaturated fats that coagulate at refrigerator temperatures, while other oils tend to be made of polyunsaturated fats that can only solidify at much lower temperatures – lower than regular refrigerators can reach.”

That makes sense, but most people forget that extra virgin is not made of just monounsaturated fats. All oils have a combination of fats, so it’s completely false to say that extra virgin will always freeze in the fridge.

A far better way to prove that your olive oil is extra virgin is to look at what trade bodies around the world are saying about the different olive oils.

You know that Bertolli is genuine because its olive oils are consistently winning awards and the medal tally is increasing year on year. No brand is under more scrutiny than Bertolli.

So, in summary, look at the hype and look at the facts. It’s not difficult to see that something foul is indeed at play with these fake olive oil stories. But it’s the claims of fraud that are themselves false, not Bertolli Olive Oil.

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Chapter five

14 Fake Olive Oil Blog Posts and Videos Revealed

A list of bloggers who reproduce automated clickbait

The fake olive oil story has spread far and wide. We’ve investigated and discovered, first, that most of these websites making spurious claims are based in countries where fake news is prevalent, such as Macedonia and others in Eastern Europe.

The following is a selection of misled bloggers, whose refusal to reveal little if any information about who they are leaves them, in our opinion, with zero credibility.

1. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands – Natural Cures House

This blog gets it wrong with the first line, “Apparently, even 70% of olive oil sold in US stores is fake, as they have been cut with cheaper.”

The blogger here doesn’t even quote the UC Davis report correctly, goes into no detail regarding the study, and doesn’t even try to explain how this makes Bertolli olive oil fake. Then they bring up the debunked fridge test.

We have attempted to reach out to this blogger, but the only information about the author is this:

2. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands

You’ll notice that someone has copied the title of the previous blog post in an attempt to piggyback off the traffic. They essentially just repeat all the points given above.

They also have in common a lack of information regarding the creator of the video. Here’s the picture from their YouTube channel:

As you can see, they have so few subscribers that the number doesn’t even show up. That’s proof of a lack of credibility.

We’ve reached out to find out more information about this person too, but as of yet we’ve received no reply.

3. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands

Again, the same title, unknown author, and the source cited deactivated from the web.

 

 

 

As you can see in the image above – the site pulls you in with the headline and then offers you spammy click bait articles to the right. This all leads us to conclude that this is nothing else but another click-bait article site with the sole purpose of making money from ads – not giving you real information.

If you go back to the first entry in this section, you’ll see that the opening lines have been simply copy-pasted.

4. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands

Healthy Living Thread used to be get some of the top results on Google. Well, we reached out to them about some of the claims they made against Bertolli extra virgin olive oil.

When we went back to their website recently, we found this:

We sent a simple message to them requesting further information and they took the entire site down. Would anyone who’s prepared to stand by their claims do that?

And it’s not the only time this has been the result of our enquiries.

5. 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Revealed – Stop Buying These Brands Now!

You’ll notice the domain name for this website is almost the same as the first entry in this chapter. Again, the blog post follows exactly the same structure as some of the other entries on this list – and in many cases uses the same words.

Furthermore, there’s no contact information regarding the author. There are also no comments on this article, which makes it obvious that they’re not attracting real customers who understand what real olive oil is.

6. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands

We don’t need to discuss how this blog follows the same formula as all the other fakes. But this one actually has an author, called Joy Sandra.

Who is Joy Sandra and what are her credentials?

We found she has a Google+ page with just a single follower and no information about her. There’s not even a picture. Again, we’ve reached out to Joy to get her comments on the Bertolli fake olive oil story, but we’re still waiting for a reply.

7. The 10 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands

This blogger gets a little shriller than the others. Although he reveals his name as Alex Budler, yet still does not provide any other information except the name.

It’s a simple uncategorized post on a website without any credentials:

The case against these fake claims just keeps building up. We can only conclude that all of these websites are coming from someone with an alternative agenda, and it’s not your health and wellbeing.

From the page, they have used a poorly sized and poorly cropped image to illustrate the post.

The case against these fake claims just keeps building up. We can only conclude that all of these websites are coming from someone with an alternative agenda, and it’s not your health and wellbeing.

8. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands

We at Deoleo were curious to find out more about the author Satya Raj.

Satya Raj seems to have written nearly all of the articles on the site, on a variety of subjects. On his author page, we could find only this:

In short, there’s no contact information regarding him. We’ve asked both the Alternative News Network and Satya Raj for more information. Neither party has written to us to bolster their claims or to give a statement.

9. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands

When we found this blog, we felt like we had accidentally returned to one of our previous fake olive oil blogger posts.

Yes, that is the exact same DIY image we mentioned a moment ago. The layout of the site is also exactly the same, and the blog has been copied by some mysterious person known only as “admin”.

As you will expect by now, there’s little to no information about this site or the writer. We have received no reply since requesting further information.

10. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands

One blogger known as Daily Natural Cures seems more reputable when you look at the website. However, it’s quickly obvious that this is the same recycled blog post as the previous ones.

As they’re listing the supposed fake and real olive oil companies, they neglected to change the order of the list. Now we know they’ve just copy-pasted the list from elsewhere.

No author has been listed here and on their About page we found only a note from:

11. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands

Unlike the other entries on this list, the author of this one actually puts in an appearance. The blog post is identical to the others, but we decided to see if we could find out something else about the author.

Imagine our surprise when we found that her contact page links back to the homepage, with nothing else about her. So far, we’ve been unable to contact Sandra.

And what’s interesting is these are the first results you find on Google. They’re not just dredged-up blogs from the basement of the Internet. These are front and center.

12. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Stop Buying these Brands

You’ll notice that naturalcuresandhomeremedies.com does not provide their readers with any information expect an image of Bertolli olive oil bottle. How they support their claim is hard to tell expect explain it through clickbait.

We’ve reached out to find out more information about how they came to conclude Bertolli os fake olive oil, but as of yet we’ve received no reply.

13. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Are Revealed Now – Avoid These Brands

We hoped to finally be able to find out more about where this information is coming from and whether they would like to be featured in this report.

Unfortunately, when contacted, this was the response:

We don’t know why they reacted this way after we sent a simple request regarding a feature.

14. The 14 Fake Olive Oil Companies Revealed – Stop Buying These Brands Now!

The final entry in our list of 14 fake olive oil companies yielded no positive results either. The blog post, the layout of the website and even the logo were quite similar to many of the other entries on the list (and sometimes the same).

The writer is that mysterious “Toni” again and he or she didn’t want to reply to us when we sent a message.

The article gained zero shares and comments which obviously leds to conclude Toni as a fake blogger.

Last Word – What Can We Conclude from Our Investigation?

In essence, there should be no reason for us to mount such a vigorous defense of Bertolli extra virgin olive oil, which is otherwise universally regarded as authentic and passes all the tests, both in the lab and on the lips of the competition tasters and the real food writers who love our product on a personal and professional level.

But our investigation into the Bertolli fake olive oil story yielded some dismaying results.

Most of the top search results on Google came from the same clickbait source. Most of these sites link to each other and use the exact copy-pasted titles and content.

LIST OF DEACTIVATED FAKE ARTICLES FROM CREDIBLE BLOGGERS WHO ARE NOW AWARE THE STORY ABOUT OLIVE OIL IS FAKE

FAKE OLIVE OIL YOUTUBERS REVEALED

LIST OF FAKE YOUTUBE VIDEOS THAT HAVE BEEN REMOVED

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Chapter six

14 Real Olive Oil Blog Posts about Bertolli

Real bloggers are the ones who share their contact information

The misleading blog postings of fake olive oil brands ‘to avoid’ can make consumers cynical about the state of the food-oil industry as a whole. But, of course, there’s another side to the negative story, and in fact it’s all positive.

There are food writers and bloggers who understand real extra virgin olive oil, and they’re not buying into outlandish claims.

And here we present a selection of 14 real olive oil blog posts about Bertolli.

These are all REAL bloggers, they get a huge amount of reader traffic and they have authority with Google. That, and their comprehension of the facts, demonstrate that they’re genuine and trusted.

1. Modern Honey – “Italian Lemon Olive Oil Cake”

This writer on the blog Modern Honey isn’t just enjoying the olive oil – she’s experimenting with it. In this blog post, she’s made a beautiful Italian lemon olive oil cake that she says was inspired by the Tuscan countryside.

We were surprised to also read that this recipe was created for one of our cooking-with-oil competitions. We’d offered the winner of the competition a trip to Italy to visit us!

The blogger explained the inspiration for the cake:

I assumed most people would go the savory route – I went to dessert.

It’s the sort of thing we love to see and we know that, for something as delicate as a cake, it’s almost impossible to make the recipe work without opting for real extra virgin olive oil.

2. Style Craze – “14 Best Olive Oil Brands in India”

Indians have started to enjoy the finest European imports. We’ve been pleasantly surprised at the sheer number of people who have fallen in love with Bertolli olive oil in India.

The blog Style Craze has listed what its administrators believe to be the 14 best olive oil brands in India. And they mentioned Bertolli, while citing some amazing things you can do with our virgin and extra virgin brands.

You can also use it in your skin and hair care regimen.

And the writer went on to mention one of our old favorites, Bertolli Classico.

3. Rainbow Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

Ali is a food blogger who is passionate about what goes on and around her table. In her post she explains how she looks for an olive oil that can withstand the heat of the grilling. Ali is about to place her kebabs on the barbecue, for which she chooses Bertolli olive oil.

Recently, after doing some digging in and doing a little research, I learned that refined pure olive oil — like this Bertolli® 100% Pure Olive Oil — actually has a smoke point of 460°F (higher than extra virgin olive oil, which has a smoke point of 406°F). So it’s actually an olive oil that’s safe for roasting and grilling within that temperature range!

4. Make it Better with Bertolli!

Lena Almeida, a work-at-home-mom, as she call’s herself, writes about travel, family lifestyle and food, hence her review on Bertolli olive oil.

There are a few brands in my pantry that I consider “iconic”. At the top of that list: Bertolli Olive Oil.

5. Bertolli Classico Olive Oil Review – My Favourite Makeup Remover and Body Oil

Sayantani Ghosh Dastidar is a blogger writing about all things beautiful and how to keep them that way, hence the name chosen for her blog site – beautifulasalways.com. In her Bertolli olive oil review she shows how to use it for makeup removal and lists other benefits of olive oil.

It’s great to have a multipurpose item nearby that can be used to cook, clean your makeup as well as apply on your hair and body. After using a few olive oils I have at last stuck with Bertolli Classico Olive Oil.

6. BBC.Good Food – “7 Health Benefits of Using Olive Oil in Your Recipes”

The BBC.Good Food site is one of the most authoritative websites in the world. And you’ll find nothing about any fake olive oil story there.

Bertolli was featured on BBC Good Food and was held up as a pillar of the real olive oil industry. In the post, we can read about all the health benefits, including: “Olive oil contains vitamin E, carotenoids and phenolic compounds, all of which are powerful antioxidants”.

7. Roasted Grape and Shaved Carrot Salad and a Bertolli Olive Oil Spray review

Rhonda Adkins is a professional food photographer and freelance writer living among the Rocky Mountains in America and she’s written a review about Bertolli’s cooking sprays.

Disclaimer: I was not compensated in any way for this post, the products were sent to me (they are the only thing I get out of this) to review. All the opinions are expressly mine.

8. Bertolli Classico Olive Oil Reviews

Mouth Shut is technically not a blogger but a highly respected review site in India. And, of course, we could not help slipping this link in here because it’s not just one but 13 glowing Bertolli olive oil reviews from our customers. One in particular was looking for an olive oil brand she could trust.

In childhood days, my mom used to massage me with Bertolli Classico olive oil. So I wanted to give it a try.

9. The Kitchen – “5 Italian Cooks on their Favorite Grocery Store Olive Oils”

The Kitchen recently posted a feature about five Italian professional cooks and their favorite olive oil. Bertolli wasn’t just featured for its extra virgin olive oil, we were named as #1.

We received an endorsement from Chef Luigi Diotaiuti, who’s based in Washington DC. He said he always chooses our extra virgin oil from the grocery store when he’s rolling out the red carpet for VIP diners.

And these are the professional chefs who know everything about olive oil. Who are you going to trust – the professionals or the clickbait from Macedonia?

10. Carapelli Olive Oil Review

Linette lives on a 19-acre farm in Ohio and says on her About page she’s on a mission to help others with tasty, healthy recipes and stories about life on the farm. Her review is about Carapelli olive oil and how she uses it in several different dishes.

Disclaimer: I received a bottle of Carapelli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to test out and review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review, all opinions are 100% mine.

11. Farmgirl Gourmet – “Grilled Pork Chops with Apple Parmesan Salad”

What stood out here was not just the mouth-watering recipe but the point that’s proven. This is a reputable blog that’s been in business since 2006, which makes it quite old by blogging standards.

There’s no mention here of the fake news story, only another example of a Bertolli fan who knows he food and understands that clickbait has no credibility among the experts.

12. Giveaway Lady – “Bertolli Classico Olive Oil Review and Giveaway”

One blogger to whom we sent a free bottle of Bertolli Classico to sample was the Giveaway Lady. In this post, she tests out our olive oil by drizzling it over steamed broccoli. She wrote that of all those who tried the dish found it to be “mildly intoxicating”.

That’s not to mention the gorgeous aroma that filled her kitchen as she was cooking the broccoli with her Asian chicken.

13. Mom Blog Society – “Bertolli for Olive Oil”

The Mom Blog Society reviewed our whole range of products, including our standard olive oils and our sprays that are designed for greasing pans. Her verdict on Bertolli olive oil:

Bertolli olive oils are amazing. We’ve been using this brand for a while. Olive oil is so much better for you than vegetable oil, so this is what my family uses. We love the way it tastes. It gives the food a great taste. Sarah, my 17-year-old, cooks for us all the time, and will only use Bertolli. If something else were in the house, she would refuse to cook.

This is a prime example of what real bloggers and caring cooks say. Real people using real products at home to create masterpieces in the kitchen.

14. 21 Olive Oil Brands Certified for Authenticity

Last but not least, read this post from the North American Olive Oil Association. Here, the leading olive oil association in the United States clearly states that Bertolli olive oil passes all of its tests.

The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) conducts the nation’s largest olive oil testing and certification program. We collect samples of extra virgin olive oil and olive oil off-the-shelf and test them for the full range of purity parameters in the global trade standards set forth by the International Olive Council (IOC), a United Nations-chartered organization that has been recognized for more than 50 years as the worldwide quality-standard setting body for the olive oil industry.

The fourteen examples above all have the same things in common. They come from strong websites with long histories. Whether they’re big names in their chosen industries or they simply have a loyal readership, they have everything the fake bloggers don’t.

17
What do you think about the fake olive oil story? Please leave your questions and comments below and we will respond.

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Rebeca
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Rebeca

What a shame to hear that such a good and trustworthy brand got into a story like this. I am glad they clarified it.

Heather Millar
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Heather Millar

Bertolli always has been one of my favourites brands especially when I lived in the states. Never let me down, always tastes good and organic. Its a really pity that its has been back shamed just like that.

Laura McConkey
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Laura McConkey

To be honest, I am really upset that people can just spread the fake news just like that and don’t think about consequences. Deoleo and Bertolli in particular should not be in the list for sure. Really good brand.

Deoleo
Admin
Deoleo

Thanks for your loyalty.

Robert Cordy
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Robert Cordy

Bertolli and fake news – its been around on the net for a while. Glad I didn’t get to believe it.

Rebecca Clerk
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Rebecca Clerk

Real shame. Shame on those 14 fake olive oil bloggers. Real shame !

Jacob Muffer
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Jacob Muffer

Really nice article not only about the olive oil but also but the fake news.

Jacob Muffer
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Jacob Muffer

Love Bertolli, one of the best brands ever !

Pamela Graff
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Pamela Graff

Heard only good about Deoleo and Bertolli. Cant really understand why the whole fake news ever came about to be so wild on the net.

Suzzi Dickey
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Suzzi Dickey

Bertolli should not have been involved in this fake story ! One of the most trustworthy brands !

Calum Johns
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Calum Johns

I’m glad to be that so many bloggers actually come to recognise that the news that shared was fake!

Stacy Nether
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Stacy Nether

Shame on those bloggers !

Column Zierty
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Column Zierty

Just read the article about this on olive oil times. Explains a lot.

Anna Poterin
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Anna Poterin

Shame on the fake bloggers.

guest
Guest
guest

“Last but not least, read this post from the North American Olive Oil Association. Here, the leading olive oil association in California clearly states that Bertolli olive oil passes all of its tests.” The North American Olive Oil Association is based in New Jersey, not California. To call it “the leading olive oil association in California” is misleading even though I’m sure it’s technically accurate if you are basing that claim on the total volume of oil represented by NAOOA versus other groups. But since CA has its own industry associations, I think it would be better to say “in… Read more »

Deoleo
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Deoleo

Many thanks for the comment. We will take your remark into consideration.

Daniela
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Daniela

I hope people don’t believe in the fake olive oil story!!!

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