Good thing butter is cool again because there may soon be a shortage of extra virgin olive oil. According to a press release, harvest reports from the “major olive growing areas around the world” show that there will be a significantly smaller crop this year. All-in-all this year’s harvest — around 2.56 million tons — appears to be nearly 20 percent lower than years past, and far below the 3 million tons consumed last year.
Source: The Great Olive Oil Shortage of 2014 Is Imminent
Given the amount of fraud in the olive oil industry, will we actually notice?
An estimated 69% of all store-bought extra virgin olive oils in the US are probably fake, according to tests by the University of California. UC Davis tested samples from the top-selling extra virgin olive oil brands to find the ones that are not worth buying and those that are.
Source: The Most (and Least) Fake Extra Virgin Olive Oil Brands
The article lists the offenders as well as those who passed the testing.
For a run down of the corruption and mafia involvement, check this New Yorker article: Slipper Business
In 1997 and 1998, olive oil was the most adulterated agricultural product in the European Union, prompting the E.U.’s anti-fraud office to establish an olive-oil task force. (“Profits were comparable to cocaine trafficking, with none of the risks,” one investigator told me.) The E.U. also began phasing out subsidies for olive-oil producers and bottlers, in an effort to reduce crime, and after a few years it disbanded the task force. Yet fraud remains a major international problem: olive oil is far more valuable than most other vegetable oils, but it is costly and time-consuming to produce—and surprisingly easy to doctor.