Clarity in Olive Oil Labelling

You’re standing in front of the cooking oils section in the supermarket and your eyes start to glaze over. There are so many kinds of oil, so many brands. There are oil from familiar names of our childhoods and names we’ve never heard of. How are you supposed to choose?

You’ve heard that olive oil is supposed to be good for you, so you narrow your examination of the shelves to just those with olive oil. But you haven’t cut back the number of choices that much. You still see all kinds of oils in different colors and using all kinds of different terms, like Extra Virgin, Light and more.

But now the federal government is riding to the rescue and have come up with strict definitions for all those terms on the labels.

The definitions will differentiate cheaper impostors from the best oil: those cold-pressed, pure, golden-hued products that lead connoisseurs to talk of grass tones, apple or nut flavors, and peppery finishes, in a language usually reserved for wines.

“You have so much to chose from, it’s good to know there will be a way to weed out the masses,” said shopper Katheryn Kealey, 23, who stopped in the olive oil aisle of an upscale San Francisco supermarket to read the fine print on a jar.