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Episode Info: If there was ever a product that has had such a colorful and yet controversial history, it is olive oil. It has been associated with Sicily, healthy eating, and the Godfather series for a long time, but something most people may not realize about the business is the struggle authentic olive oil producers have with counterfeiting. You read that right—fake olive oil is very much a thing, and it’s quite staggering to realize that the odds of you having had real olive oil in your life is slim at best. In this episode of the AM/PM Podcast, host Manny Coats interview Vitina Feo of Papa Vince, a proprietor of authentic extra virgin olive oil from Sicily, Italy who sells her product on Amazon FBA. Vitina’s family has been in the olive oil business since 1935 and is named for her grandfather who started the business. Olive oil purists like Vitina have been waging a war with counterfeit olive oil producers who have sought to fulfill the extremely high demand of extra virgin olive oil around the world for a long time. According to Vitina, there simply is not enough supply of olive orchards in the world to satisfy the demand for olive oil that has grown exponentially over the years. This overwhelming supply and demand problem has bred a whole slew of producers who now sell a synthesized version of extra virgin olive oil, making it difficult for authentic producers like Vitina to complete in the olive oil market. Manny first made Vitina’s acquaintance at the Boost conference in New York City where she shared one of the olive oil industry’s biggest secrets: around 95% of the extra virgin olive oil produced today is not authentic but synthesized. However, most people cannot tell the difference, so what is the big deal? In a phrase—fair trade. Large corporations figured out a while ago that if they could synthesize olive oil, why should they pay higher costs to supply orchards like Vitina’s for actual authentic olives? Of course, you would think that the FDA in the United States would not allow these same corporations to pass their synthesized product off as “100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil.” The sad truth is that currently, the FDA does not have a specific definition of what constitutes extra virgin olive oil, so almost anything claiming to be as such is technically fair game. Like most products out there, the true difference between authenticity and counterfeit is often like night and day, and extra virgin olive oil is no exceRead more »

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