Warehouse thefts, mixing high-quality oil with lower-grade products, and falsifying shipping information are increasing in the olive-growing areas of Greece. Additionally, gangs are resorting to using chainsaws to steal heavily laden branches and even entire trees from unguarded groves, exacerbating the situation.
Some people mix olive oil with cheaper vegetable oils to make more money and sell it as extra virgin olive oil. This is olive oil adulteration or olive oil fraud.
The increase in reports/complaints to the Hellenic Food Authority “EFET” about olive oil adulteration and olive oil fraud is concerning enough to determine the institution to issue a press release for consumer and business fraud protection. The communique includes a bulleted list with practical advice addressing olive oil adulteration and best practices for buyers and sellers.
Olive oil adulteration fraud causes financial losses and potential health risks. Fraud undermines consumer confidence and market stability.
Consumers can protect themselves by making sure that the label of the olive oil they purchased includes:
- Sales category of the olive oil:
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
- Virgin Olive Oil (VOO)
- Olive Oil (OO)
- The alphanumeric approval number of the standardization unit (EL-40-___).
- Details of the person in charge of the business.
In addition, consumers should always:
- Buy olive oil from reputable and trusted brands.
- Check for official certification labels on the packaging.
- Verify the alphanumeric approval number on the label.
- Avoid purchasing olive oil from street vendors or anonymous sellers.
- Choose reputable sources when buying olive oil online.
- Requesting legal tax receipts upon receipt of the olive oil.
- Contact EFET directly at 11717 or online to report insufficient labelling, inflated prices, or abnormal characteristics of the olive oil.
- Implement strict quality control measures in the production process.
- Ensure accurate labelling and traceability of the olive oil products.
- Ensure proper documentation and compliance with standards for olive oil production and distribution.
- Cooperate with official inspections and provide accurate information when required.
- Regularly verify the credentials of suppliers and partners.
- Report any suspected fraudulent activities to the relevant authorities promptly.
In Crete, olive oil production is expected to drop significantly compared to the 130,000 tons produced last year. The whole island is estimated to produce only 30,000 to 35,000 tons this year.