supermercado-aceite_de_oliva-2009EUROPE is still reeling from the recent vegetable crisis.

But experts have warned that things are about to get worse, as the next crisis in food supply will be a global olive oil shortage.

Prices in Spain have hit a record high – with averages of €3.80 per kilo of virgin extra and €3.70 per kilo of virgin olive oil.

A hot and dry summer in Spain led to the worst harvest in nearly 20 years this year.

Italian production is also suffering, as an outbreak of Xylella fastidiosa bacteria has infected more than a million trees and decimated the crop.

Prices are rising in the UK as well, with the head of the UK’s best-selling olive oil brand, Filippo Berio UK, warning that the price of the Spanish import could increase by up to a third more this year.

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  1. The worst toxic oil scandal of the 1981 happened before Spain was a member of the EU, and killed 1,000 people, and made people seriously ill in just a few hours. I think the the case you refer to is more recent, from 2011, where two Spanish “businessmen” mixed sunflower oil with extra virgin oil, which was then sold on to Nestle, who also own Buitoni oil, and the Bertolli brand. Much of Spain’s olive oil is sent to Italy and re-bottled with Italian branding. The whole olive oil industry is affected by corruption, and that goes for Italy too. Just this month it was reported that 7 top Italian virgin olive oil brands were inferior.

    Meanwhile, if you want to test your own extra virgin olive oil, stick it in a very cold fridge. Since the oil is comprised of mostly monounsaturated fats, it should solidify when cold, and it should become thick and cloudy. I did this with olive oil from my local olive oil mill, and it almost went like wax after a couple of hours. If you’re lucky to have a mill near you, even see it being made – nothing better than straight from the horses mouth. Supermarket olive oil is low quality, with as much as 80% being inferior according to recent reports.

    If you have a local oil mill, buy it there. I recently watched the whole process at a local mill and it was fascinating, and at least there you have a better chance of buying the genuine article.

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