Brazilian Secretary for Agricultural and Livestock, Luis Rangel

An inves­ti­ga­tion by Brazil’s Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Farming’s (MAP) revealed wide­spread mis­la­bel­ing of olive oil prod­ucts being sold in the coun­try where olive oil con­sump­tion has risen sharply in recent years.

The MAP report con­firmed that 45 brands of olive oil, out of 140 ana­lyzed in the last two years, did not meet the qual­ity required by their label­ing.

The high­est inci­dences of olive oil fraud occurred in São Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and the Federal District; areas with large num­bers of pack­ag­ing com­pa­nies. Fraud was rife among bot­tlers who import olive oil in bulk, mainly from Argentina.

The inves­ti­ga­tion exposed com­pa­nies in Paraná that had mar­keted “olive oil” which was com­posed of 85 per­cent soy­bean oil and 15 per­cent lam­pante oil, a grade not fit for human con­sump­tion until it is fur­ther refined.

MAP ana­lyzed 322,329 liters of olive oil sam­ples col­lected from 12 Brazilian states and found 207,579 liters (64 per­cent) to be sub­stan­dard. The fraud­u­lent brands included; Astorga, Carrefour, Almeirim and Conde de Torres.

114,750 liters of olive oil from brands deemed to be authen­tic included Andorinha, Aro, Apolo, Borges, Belo Porto and Carrefour Discount.

The sub­stan­dard olive oil was seized and the fraud­sters were reported to the Public Ministry. A police inves­ti­ga­tion will be launched, with offend­ers fac­ing fines of up to $170,000.

Brazil’s clamp down on fake olive oil was stepped up this month. MAP tar­geted and col­lected sam­ples from com­pa­nies that have shown irreg­u­lar­i­ties over the past two years. In the first week of April, 243,000 liters of sus­pect olive oil were col­lected for analy­sis.

According to Luis Rangel, the sec­re­tary of agri­cul­ture and live­stock at Map, the results revealed the effi­ciency of the author­i­ties in iden­ti­fy­ing irreg­u­lar­i­ties and their com­mit­ment to pre­vent­ing sub­stan­dard olive oil from reach­ing con­sumers.

The olive oil was ana­lyzed by the National Agricultural and Livestock Laboratories (LANAGRO) of Rio Grande do Sul and Goiás.

The Ministry advised con­sumers to be sus­pi­cious if olive oil was sold at below stan­dard prices and to check labels to see where the prod­uct was pack­aged.

Brazil is still reel­ing from a meat scan­dal ear­lier this year. The “Flesh is weak” inves­ti­ga­tion revealed that rot­ting meat was being sold as fit for con­sump­tion. The meat was treated with chem­i­cals to mask its odor and improve its appear­ance.

Officials were accused of tak­ing bribes in return for turn­ing a blind eye to vio­la­tions and issu­ing fraud­u­lent san­i­tary per­mits and fal­si­fied doc­u­ments. The scan­dal led to many coun­tries ban­ning imports of meat from Brazil.


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