For those of us dealing with nut allergies cooking with olive oil, this was terrifying! And especially for parents who are facing new nut allergy diagnoses--many wondered where to turn.
I've gotten a fair number of e-mails about olive oil and I've contacted a few companies to get their take on how "pure" their olive oil is.
In general, it's best to go with olive oil that is high quality, i.e. often times the more expensive kind. Also, I try to stick with "pure" brands. For example, Trader Joe's sells many types of olive oil that are on the cheaper side, and they have often been repackaged and re-branded for TJ--it's unclear sometimes what is the origin of some of this oil. As much as I love a great olive oil bargain, Trader Joe's has so many nut-containing products that I feel better skipping it. Obviously, you should do what feels right for you.
In the meantime, I contacted some olive oil brands found at most supermarkets. To date, I've received two responses, one from Colavita (which I've used for years--it's very good) and one from a Hormel brand called Carapelli.
Here's what Colavita had to say:
"Colavita guarantees that it does not adulterate its olive oil products with soybean oil, nut oil, pomace oil or any other adulterant. All products are labeled to accurately reflect the actual contents, including the component oils for the canola/olive and soybean/olive blends produced for the foodservice trade.
Colavita maintains dedicated processing equipment in its facility to prevent the unintentional commingling of oils, including soybean oil. Colavita does not produce, store or distribute nut-based oil products. The raw material oils that Colavita utilizes to produce its blends are sourced from facilities that may also process other food oils. Colavita requires documented authentication of each raw material purchase.
Colavita is committed to high quality and authenticity throughout its product line. These values have been at the core of the company since its inception and will remain so into the future."
And here's what Carapelli had to say:
There is no peanut oil used in the Carapelli products. No olive oil products are on the recent peanut recall.
Based on those two responses, I'm sticking with Colavita, for sure. And it tastes better! Also, reputable olive oil distributors value the purity of the oil--it's almost like wine to them in terms of color, taste, freedom from impurities, etc. So you may have to pay a little more, but it's worth it for health and safety.Allergic Girl, Sloane Miller, has some great info on her blog about this story and about her communications with Bertolli olive oil, another good, widely available brand.
If anyone has any other olive oil stories to share, please let us know about your experiences.