Project 3: Olive Oil
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Olive oil is a significantly valuable product that has various applications in healthcare and nutrition fields. Since olive oil is a rare product, it is often counterfeited by racketeers with the aim of making more money. Counterfeiting of olive oils involves the dilution of the pure olive oil through the addition of other poor quality oils (Michaelis, 2012). This is done to increase the quantity of the oil with the aim of increasing profits or passing off oils that are not olive oils as the genuine product. Olive oil is often counterfeited, because it is a product that is rare to acquire and can be applied at home as well as in healthcare and industrial spheres.
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The methods used to create counterfeit olive oil are highly refined and complex such that it is impossible to differentiate between the real and fake olive oils. Therefore, a consumer can see the difference between a genuine and counterfeit olive oils by placing them in the refrigerator; the genuine product “ought to become thick and cloudy as it cools completely” (Michaelis, 2012). However, these methods of checking whether olive oil is genuine are not completely trustworthy.
Genuine olive oil can be bought from local producers, who grow olives for the purposeof making oil, or from genuine suppliers whose products are obtained directly from olive oil producers. Though olive oil can be found in many stores across the country, it is difficult for a consumer to get to know its source; therefore, one is not sure whether olive oils found in stores are genuine or fake.
Olive oil is made from olives that are picked, cleaned, and crushed to form a paste that is then stirred to produce oil drops. This process of making olive oil is known as maceration where the obtained oil drops are “spun in a centrifuge to pull out the oil and water” (OliveOilTimes, 2014). There are two types of olive oil: refined and unrefined. The unrefined olive oil is obtained from the olives and does not have any additives such as chemicals or other oils. Meanwhile, refined oil is commonly found in shops and labelled as olive oil or pure olive oil. Essentially refined olive oil has undergone several processes either with the aim of adding other oils to the unrefined olive oil or as a result of mass production in companies.
Olive oil has many applications including healthcare where it is used to control or treat diseases such as cancer, heart disease, blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteoporosis. Olive oil is produuced in many European and non-European countries. The European countries that produce olives include Spain, Italy, and Greece, which account for 56.2%, 24.5% and 16.4% respectively of all olive oil productions in the world (Food Folk, 2011). Meanwhile, non-European producers include Tunisia, Syria, and Turkey which make 5.8%, 4.9% and 4.7% respectively of all olive productions in the world (Food Folk, 2011).
While countries such as Greece and Spain produce olive oil for export purposes, it is used in most of these countries for domestic application, development of medicines, and treatment among others. In Greece, olive trees were considered to be sacred plants, and olive oil – sacred oil that was primarily used in special occasions such as coronations or other royal events (Bioesti, 2012). The most common use of olive oil was offering it to others as a symbol of peace and an indication of respect. Furthermore, most cultures used it for medical and nutritional purposes (Bioesti, 2012). For instance, olive oil has been used in many cultures in various countries including Greece and Spain to make medicines, ointments, and olive tea among others. The leaves of olive tree were used in times of war to symbolize peace, and olive flowers were used to make medicines to treat eyes and stomach aches.