What to look for

Dewey Lucero tastes oil at his Lucero Olive Oil plant in Corning. Lucero founded the company after he lost his job as an engineer. His family has been growing olives for generations.
Andreas Fuhrmann/Corbis

Advice from Dan Flynn, executive director of the UC-Davis Olive Center:

Bee populations around the world have collapsed.
  • Look for a harvest date on the label (it should be no more than one year old). Freshness is important for quality and nutrition. Some retailers are becoming more savvy about this.
  • Color is not an indicator of freshness. Some people think a strong green tint means better quality, but some olive varieties are just greener than others. Some high-quality olive oils are a golden color.
  • Buy olive oil in a container that protects the oil from light. That could be dark glass or a tin.
  • People need to taste truly fresh oil. I believe most people are used to an oil that is not fresh, and that's what they think it should taste like. There's a high-quality product available at the same price. Extra virgin olive oil has a special flavor and freshness. Once people taste fresh extra virgin olive oil, they'll want to continue choosing it.
  • Olive oil should smell fruity and taste and smell like olives. Some describe high-quality olive oil as "grassy" or "peppery."

Green Earth Beauty: Photos

For maximum nutrition, quality and flavor, ideally, the olive oil you buy should not be more than one year old. It should say "extra virgin." It should be harvested carefully, processed quickly and minimally, stored in a cool dark environment and opened and used without too much exposure to air.

The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. This article was originally published on LiveScience.com. Tallmadge's most recent Op-Ed was 7 'Bad' Foods You Should Be Eating.

Copyright 2013 LiveScience, a TechMediaNetwork company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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