Is Your Avocado Oil Really Pure? New Study Raises Concerns About Quality and Purity
Avocado oil has gained popularity in recent years for its health benefits and versatility in the kitchen. But not all avocado oil products are created equal, and consumers may be unknowingly purchasing oils that are not as pure as advertised. A study conducted by researchers at the University of California, Davis has found that a significant portion of private label avocado oil products tested were not pure or of advertised quality.
The researchers analyzed samples of 36 private label avocado oil products and assessed their quality and purity. The study, published in the journal Food Control, revealed that only 31% of the samples tested were pure, and 36% met the advertised quality standards. Quality refers to factors such as freshness and whether the oil has deteriorated due to aging or exposure to heat and light. Purity was determined by measuring fatty acids, sterols, and other components that distinguish avocado oil from other oils.
The study included oils purchased from 19 retailers in the United States and Canada, representing a range of price points. The findings showed that lower-priced oils were more likely to be adulterated with other oils, highlighting the importance of being cautious when selecting avocado oil.
Selina Wang, an associate professor of Cooperative Extension in the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, explained, “We found that low-cost products indicate a higher probability for adulteration, but high cost didn’t guarantee purity or quality.” Wang co-authored the study with Hilary Green, a postdoctoral researcher at UC Davis.
The researchers also identified chemical markers that can help professional retail buyers make more informed decisions about avocado oil suppliers, ultimately benefiting consumers who want to ensure they are purchasing high-quality products.
This is the second comprehensive study conducted by UC Davis researchers on the quality of avocado oil in the market. The previous study, released in 2020, revealed similar issues with poor quality, mislabeling, and adulteration.
In response to these findings, efforts have been made to establish enforceable standards for avocado oil. The Avocado Oil Expert Group, in collaboration with the American Oil Chemists’ Society, has been working on potential standards and future research projects. The goal is to develop standards that accommodate natural variations in avocado oil while effectively detecting any adulterations.
Selina Wang expressed optimism about the future of the avocado oil industry, drawing parallels to the improvements seen in the olive oil industry. Wang said, “I’m very optimistic for the future of the avocado oil industry… If we can establish fair standards and eliminate fraudulent products, avocado oil quality and purity have the potential to improve significantly.”
As consumers become more aware of the quality and purity concerns surrounding avocado oil, the establishment of enforceable standards will play a crucial role in ensuring that consumers can trust the products they purchase.