Originally Posted by MichaelB
Is it safe to say the UC Davis Olive Center is an unbiased source of research, especially when it comes to comparing and rating oils produced in California vs Europe? Their mission statement
My interpretation of the observations in the study is different and less suspicious than yours: Because the adulterated olive oil is so difficult to detect, the largest commercial providers are most susceptible to it. That would be why, IMO, the study places the largest sellers on the 'bad' list. The companies on the 'good' list are more easily able to trace the source of their product, as they have a smaller market share. This is just the same as for any other food item. Traceability of your food source is important if you are looking to satisfy particular dietary requirements.
Additionally, this was probably a fairly easy outcome to predict for this study, as California does not have any suppliers of Olive Oil with the huge volume of the European companies, and thus can monitor the oil sources much easier.
I buy imported olive frequently, but usually small batch brands from northern Africa and Greece.