7 Warning Signs of Low-Quality Olive Oil? Don’t Get Fooled

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Do you know the difference between top-quality olive oil and low-quality olive oil? Not many people do. Most people assume olive oil is olive oil and that all olive oils are good for you.

Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Like any other food product, there are varying qualities of olive oil on the market. And while low-quality olive oil may not necessarily be bad for your health, it certainly won’t provide you with any nutrients at all. In fact, it may even contain harmful additives and preservatives.

Let’s see some of the top indications of low-quality olive oil.

Signs Of Low-Quality Olive Oil

low-quality olive oil

Okay, now I’ll show you all the warning signs of low-quality olive oils. One sign doesn’t have to mean anything, but if you spot more of them, then it’s probably low-quality olive oil. I also wrote a guide on how to spot a high-quality olive oil. It’s full of helpful tips and tricks, and they’re extremely easy to learn.

1. No Harvest Date On The Bottle

filling olive oil into bottles

Most people don’t know that olive oil goes bad. It’s not like a bottle of wine, which gets better with age. Olives are fruits, and a freshly pressed extra-virgin olive oil should taste like fruit. As it ages, it will start to taste rancid, like crayons or putty.

So, how do you know if your oil is fresh? Check for a harvest date on the bottle. If you can’t find one, that’s a red flag — time to look for more information.

2. Olive Oil Is Packaged In Clear Glass

transparent bottle of olive oil

Olive oils, especially the extra-virgin ones, are sensitive to light and need to be stored in dark bottles or cans. Clear glass lets in UV light that can damage the phytonutrients and make the flavors turn bitter and rancid faster.

You’ll often find that cheaper brands of olive oil are packaged in clear bottles, but you should avoid them. Even if they’re not being stored in direct sunlight on supermarket shelves, there’s still a good chance their quality has been compromised due to the packaging.

3. Olive Oil Is Sold In Plastic Containers

woman buying a bottle of olive oil in the market

Plastic is porous, and olive oil can absorb compounds from plastic bottles over time. It’s best to avoid any oils packaged in plastic (unless it’s inside an opaque carton).

Also, plastic tends to allow light and oxygen in. This can degrade the quality of the oil, especially extra virgin olive oil, which is more delicate. “Oxidized fat becomes rancid and harmful,” says Dr. Oz Garcia, a nutritionist who has worked with clients including Jennifer Lopez and Hugh Jackman. “It can cause all kinds of health problems.”

4. The Ingredients Come From Multiple Countries

a bunch of olives

This may seem odd, but single-origin olive oils are usually much better than the ones that are mixed with olive fruits that come from multiple countries.

If a label on the bottle says that the main ingredient comes from multiple countries, you should stay away from that bottle of olive oil. That’s a warning sign that the manufacturer buys cheap olive fruit from everywhere just to create more profits – the end result is usually low-quality olive oil.

5. Olive Oil Is Too Transparent

transparent olive oil

The best olive oils are produced from the first press of freshly harvested fruit. Low-quality oils are often made from processing leftover fruit at the end of the harvest. These cheaper olive oils are typically more opaque in color and have a thinner, less viscous consistency than high-quality oils.

High-quality oils also tend to be thicker in texture, while low-quality ones are watery and thin. So, if the olive oil you’re buying has too watery structure, I would look further since it’s a sign of low-quality olive oil.

6. Olive Oil Is Too Yellow or Too Green

yellow olive oil

Low-quality olive oil is yellowish, while high-quality olive oil is greenish. Amber color is a sign of poor quality because it means that the olives were overripe when they were pressed, which leads to an unpleasant taste.

In contrast, a vibrant green color signifies freshness because it comes from freshly picked olives. This makes high-quality olive oil sweeter, more flavorful, and more nutritious than low-quality olive oils.

However, if the color of olive oil is too green, that could be a sign of artificial dyes in the oil. So, to conclude, if the olive oil is too yellow or too green, it’s a warning sign of low-quality olive oil.

7. Very Cheap Price

cheap olive oil

If olive oil is too cheap, that’s a warning sign of low-quality olive oil. Even though people like to buy everything cheap, high-quality olive oils can’t be bought for a few bucks.

There are many olive oil companies out there that offer good deals on their products, but if the price seems too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true.

Related: Why Is Olive Oil Expensive

People who make it with care and attention to detail are not going to sell it for less than it’s worth. As a general rule, good extra virgin olive oil costs about $4 to $10 for a 500ml (17 fl. oz) bottle. Twelve dollars is usually the most you should spend on extra virgin olive oil. If you see prices higher than that, then there’s probably some additional marketing hype going on.


As olive oil becomes more and more popular around the world, it’s becoming increasingly important to investigate the market for low-quality oils. It’s also quite likely that this will become a priority as consumers become more educated about what constitutes extra virgin olive oil.

Tasting olive oil is the best way to determine the quality, so make sure to learn how to do it here. That’s what olive oil sommeliers do all the time.

At the end of the day, it’s important that we pay attention to what we’re buying and remain vigilant to avoid being scammed. All the same, never let your guard down completely, and pay close attention to the warning signs of low-quality olive oil I mentioned above.

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