'Fake' olive oil is making its way to the UK, experts warn

"Fake"olive oil is on its way to British supermarket shelves, experts have suggested, as large quantities of sub par produce are being produced in Italy.

T he surge of fake oil is anticipated as the production costs of olive oil have rocketed by up to 40 per cent as a result of poor harvests and the rising pound - writes telegraph.co.uk.

The managing director of one of Europe's best known olive oil brands, Filippo Berio, has also blamed supermarkets for refusing to raise prices for consumers, meaning the extra costs ar

Walter Zanre told the Grocer magazine: "Since June of last year, my import costs have gone up by over 40 per cent - a combination of the devalued pound and the cost rising because last year's harvest was not particularly good.

"There is also extreme resistance at retail to accept any increases caused by Brexit and currency devaluation. It puts tremendous pressure on the supply chain." e crippling producers.

Walter Zanre told the Grocer magazine: "Since June of last year, my import costs have gone up by over 40 per cent - a combination of the devalued pound and the cost rising because last year's harvest was not particularly good.

"There is also extreme resistance at retail to accept any increases caused by Brexit and currency devaluation. It puts tremendous pressure on the supply chain."

L ast month the Rural Payments Agency published test results for 131 samples of olive oils sold over two years and found 43 were of unsatisfactory quality or "adulterated".

Mr Zanre said he believes that products are most likely failing to meet extra virgin quality criteria because they are oxidised or have flavour defects, rather than being actively adulterated.

T here is "absolutely" a correlation between increases and sub-par olive oil coming into the market, he said.

Data from commodity analysts Mintec shows that prices hit £4,883 per metric tonne for Italian extra virgin and £3,435 per metric tonne for Spanish extra virgin on 19th July 2017 - up from £2,655 and £2,412 respectively in January 2016.

There have been reports of "fake" extra virgin being produced in Italy and Spain, with CBS last year suggesting fake oil was three times more lucrative than cocaine. None has been found in UK supermarkets as yet, but James Tyler, director at Leftko, has warned that the " ridiculously low " punishments for food fraud are putting consumers at risk.

He said: "It is a fine of a couple of thousand pounds. So when they are making four times that on a container of olive oil and selling one or two a week, you would almost be a fool to play it with a straight bat. "

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