So for reasons unrelated to this blog, I had the opportunity to appear on a food and shopping episode of Dr. Oz. As is often the case though, it turned out to be a learning opportunity about food allergies.
We all know that food labeling is important. For people with food allergies, accurate food labeling can be a matter of life or death. I learned on Dr. Oz that there is rampant mislabeling and non-disclosure of added ingredients in the production of extra virgin olive oil. Shockingly, many so-called extra virgin olive oils contain undisclosed fillers. Often, those fillers include nut oils. For people with nut allergies, those undisclosed fillers can be deadly.
Yes, it’s against the law. But like many laws, our food allergy labeling laws aren’t always diligently enforced. So what to do?
Buy extra virgin olive oil only in dark glass containers bearing a certification of the contents. California produced oils have such a certification, as do Italian oils. Make sure your oil notes the source and the location of bottling. Avoid oils that are sourced from more than one location. A handy test Dr. Oz noted was that pure extra virgin oil will freeze up in your frig- blended oils will not.
In the event that you learn you have been the victim of fraudulent labeling, notify the store of purchase immediately and contact the FDA. As with all things, vigilance is key.