Toronto, May 29, 2018 – Contrary to popular idiom, where there is smoke, there is not necessarily fire. In a recent study, published in Acta Scientific Nutritional Health, Australian researchers dispel long-held misconception about using extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) when cooking at high temperatures. The scientific experiment proved once and for all that the smoking point is not the best indicator of the suitability and safety of an oil, attesting that high-quality, less-refined oils perform better when heated.
Eager to determine what happens when different oils such as olive, coconut, avocado, sunflower, canola, peanut, rice bran and grapeseed oils are being put to the test, the research examined chemical and physical changes throughout the cooking process. After heating the oils up to 240°C for over 20 minutes and going as far as heating them up to 180°C for over six hours, the results showed that extra virgin olive oil retains the highest level of antioxidants while yielding the lowest levels of harmful substances (called polar compounds), which are directly linked with health issues. This outcome not only clears the reputation of EVOO as being the healthiest of all cooking oils, but also stresses the importance of using a high-quality extra virgin olive oil in the kitchen.
“My family has been in the “liquid gold” business for more than 80 years,” explains Brahim Slama, thirdgeneration producer and General Manager of Oleiva in Canada. “We’re delighted that researchers are shining the spotlight on the importance of buying quality EVOO, especially since it is without a doubt one of the most counterfeited goods on the planet. With that said, it always makes me smile to see that we’ve been doing it right for more than three generations… At Oleiva, it’s about old-world traditions, hand-picking and cold-pressing the olives, you know, the good old way.”
Demystifying EVOO & what you need to know when you buy
Alert! EVOO is one of the most commonly counterfeited foods!
• Some companies cut EVOO with sunflower oil or some other form of oil. Did you know that there is no such thing as ‘light virgin olive oil’? This title only means that the EVOO was cut with a lighter oil to lower the fat content.
• “Made in“ vs. “Bottled in“ – You might think you are buying an EVOO made in Italy, for instance, but if the label simply says, “Bottled in Italy“, the olive oil actually comes from somewhere else, like Tunisia! Contrary to the U.S.A, Canadian laws do not require that the label specifies where the olive oil is from. Check the back labels of your favourite brands in America to learn where those brands truly get their oil.
Tips for Buying High Quality EVOO:
• Ignore words like “light”, “natural” and “pure” because they are unregulated terms that don’t carry meaning.
• Never pay less than $7 CAD for a bottle: Similarly to gold, the global price of olive oil presently trades at a little over $4632 USD per metric ton (1000 liters) as seen on the International Olive Council website, making the price of one single liter at a little over $6 CAD for the raw goods alone. Prices for extra virgin olive oil are on an extended run skyward, with no relief in sight. On average, global prices were already up 25% in 2017.
• Colour is key: EVOO in its purest form retains a golden to green hue depending on the variety of olives used to produce the oil. Much like wine, the taste of olive oil is also influenced by the olive varieties as well as by the ripeness at which the olives are harvested (green olives give a bitter, spicier flavour whereas ripe olives impart sweetness).
The Tunisian Difference
Olive oil from Tunisia has been exported in bulk to other Mediterranean countries including Italy, Spain and Greece for years, due to its superior quality and abundant supply. There, it was blended with other olive oils, and resold under non-Tunisian labels.
Strict government regulations make it an extremely high-quality product. Although it is not labelled organic, Tunisian agricultural standards and laws regulating the production of olive oil are very stringent. In fact, producers can only export the liquid gold after receiving a detailed certificate from the Tunisian Olive Oil Council, attesting that the oil is in fact 100% extra virgin and that it was made in conformity with their norms. To keep up with their reputation as one of the leading producers of olive oil in the world, a second inspection is also made at the time of shipment to ensure that only the top-quality oils are exported. 100% of what’s in a bottle labeled Tunisian EVOO is indeed from Tunisia. The country boasts 80 million olive trees dating back 3000 years, a climate ripe for olives, and an olive oil-centric cuisine.
A Taste of Tunisia in Canada
Setting Oleiva Extra Virgin Olive Oil apart, is the Slama family’s continued emphasis on traditional techniques, resulting in a smooth, aromatic oil that Canadians can now drizzle, drip and “glug” into their meals. Oleiva Traditional Extra Virgin Olive Oil is available in 1L bottles in grocery store shelves across Canada (SRP $10.99).
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