by athan


by athan


Why is EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) labeling in such a disarray?

Updated July 31 2018

I wrote this article back in 2014 Greece was the first EU country to tackle this problem but local ineptitude and foreign interference prevented a resolution as to how to measure the phenolic compounds in EVOO in order to satisfy the EU 432/2012 health claim minimum requirement.

The truth about olive oil

The Health benefits of replacing animal fat sources such as butter, with monounsaturated fat from olive oil and adhering to Mediterranean diet are well known. Although diet and an active lifestyle are major component of a healthy and long life, each culture has its own dietary habits and traditions. Phenolic compounds when consumed in their natural state in EVOO are being researched for their enhanced health benefits and some are refering to high phenolic EVOO as a medical food.

Latest research on the effects of oleocanthal rich olive oil on mice with alzheimers: 

“The aim of this study was to investigate the consumption of EVOO rich with oleocanthal (hereafter EVOO) as a medical food on enhancing the effect of donepezil on attenuating Aβ load and related toxicity in 5xFAD mouse model of AD.

In conclusion, the consumption of EVOO rich with oleocanthal as a medical food combined with donepezil offers an effective therapeutic approach by enhancing the noncholinergic mechanisms of donepezil and by providing additional mechanisms to attenuate Aβ-related pathology in AD patients.”

“The health benefits of olive oil are 99 percent related to the presence of the phenolic compounds, not the oil itself,” says Nasir Malik, research plant physiologist at the U.S.D.A.

Since then, nothing much has happened as far as the health claim labelling for the EU is concerned but now the IOC is jumped in to try to resolve this issue with disastrous results by seeking new methods of measuring phenolic content. Contrary to all scientific evidence the IOC is refusing to acccept any method that identifies and measures each and every phenolic compound in olive oil. Including the method the research scientists used to create the EU health claim in the first place…

Unbelievable; but when it comes to the IOC not surprising. 

Why does the IOC (International Olive Council) based in Spain not allowing the measurement of each phenolic compound in EVOO? Why is each and every phenolic compound found in EVOO not allowed on the label? Why is IOC not willing to use the latest technology to analyze accurately each and every phenolic compound in EVOO?

The IOC has not even adopted the health claim for polyphenols in olive oil 432/2012 and only serves the interests of the huge olive oil industry mainly based in Spain.

In this respect the IOC does not serve the interests of the thousands of small independent olive growers producing high phenolic early harvest EVOO not the interests of consumers looking for simple tranparency – what is in the olive oil they are buying? .

The IOC is now looking for a method to measure the phenolic concentration but is refusing to acccept any method that identifies and measures each and every phenolic compound in olive oil. Why? Because they represent the interests of the industrialized olive oil industry and they do not want transparency. They do not want you to know what is in your olive oil. More importantly they do not want you to know which is the best olive oil for your health.

Here is a side by side example of a label for Cheerios and for organic EVOO

What is wrong with this picture?

  1. Cheerios proudly declares the health benefit on the front of the label!  EVOO HIDES IT AND THE IOC IS OBSTRUCTING THE USE OF THE NEW HEALTH CLAIM FOR POLYPHENOLS SINCE 2012
  2. Cheerios has a complete list of vitamins and minerals EVOO DOES NOT MENTION PHENOLIC CONTENT or much of anything else. WHY?
  3. Sales in the US of Cheerios for 2015 was higher than olive oil sales, even though cereal sales are declining in popularity.
  4.  Cheerios sales in 2015
  5. Olive oil sales in  2015

Cheerios nutritional label

Cheerios nutritional label

Notice the difference in the labeling. Which product would you buy solely looking at the label? Which product is healthier and better for you? Despite the fat EVOO is superior in every way to any morning cerial this fact is not communicated effectively on the label. Is it because the olive oil companies are not interested in promoting their products health benefits?

What is NOT on the label of Extra virgin Olive Oil

Phenolic compounds such as: oleocanthal, oleacein, ligstroside aglycon, oleuropein aglycon,

and more are not even mentioned:

Omega 3, and 6

Vitamin E

Vitamin K


The real reason the labels of olive oil lack transparency is the humongous olive oil industry does not want you to know what’s in the olive oil you purchase. If we were allowed to place on the label the full phenolic profile of EVOOs this would expose the fact that ordinary olive oils and many EVOOs as well lack any significant amount of phenolic compounds. EVOO is a very small part of global olive oil sales less than 15%. and an even smaller percentage is actually real EVOO. An even smaller percentage is in the best olive oil category of high phenolic EVOO.

The healthiest OLIVE OIL is the olive oil with the highest phenolic concentrations. This type of olive oil built the Hellenic civilization and they used it to expand their trade routes across the ancient world. Today olive oil cannot even out sell Cheerios.

This is the accomplishment of the modern day olive oil barons and their International Olive Council dedicated to promoting the lowest common denominator of olive oil. The whole world is waking up to the fact true quality of olive oil stems from the concentration of phenolic compounds it contains. Consumers are demanding the highest quality EVOO rich in phenolic content. 

“The health benefits of olive oil are 99 percent related to the presence of the phenolic compounds, not the oil itself,” says Nasir Malik, research plant physiologist at the U.S.D.A.



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