Chanukah Olive Oil Alert

14 Kislev 5773

November 28, 2012

The following information was taken from the Chief Rabbinate alert 005/5773 pertaining to bogus olive oil found in the marketplace.

The Chief Rabbinate publishes the list annually, ahead of Chanukah for obvious reasons.

Permit me to point out a number of issues:
1. The labels shown are not from “this year” but from “pervious years”. The reason is because by the time this year’s list is ready, it is too close to Chanukah and most consumers will have purchased the oil already.
2. Some of the concerns with bogus oil include orla, shmitah [oil from a number of years ago], using non-kosher ingredients to mix the diluted mixture (emulsifiers), some ingredients not being kosher for Pesach (even though the label says otherwise and kitnios.
3. Seeing olive oil being sold too inexpensively, let’s say half the marketplace price is usually a major warning sign. As Rabbi Shmuel Eliyahu says “If it’s too good to be true, it generally is” and the product is not real olive oil. Unless you can verify the integrity of the oil, there are no bargains and buying oil for half the going rate sharply increases the risk of purchasing bogus olive oil and possibly a non-kosher product.
4. For anyone in the know, the international marketplace is full of bogus olive oil from both a kosher and health perspective simply because the profit margin is so high.
5. It is bad enough when one wishes to fulfill the mitzvah of lighting candles with olive oil and we learn the oil is not, but it is much worse if one uses the oil for eating year round or Pesach when it may be treif or chametz.
6. Here are links to a Ministry of Health reports citing the olive oils inspected were found to be mixed with other oils! Link 1 and link 2 
7. Lastly, there are two categories in the list. The first uses legitimate hechsherim and prints them on a label without authorization. The second simply uses bogus hechsherim with the word “badatz” towards duping the consumer. Whatever the case, one needs to attempt to avoid buying olive oil that is questionable, like boutique brands and unknown brands. Many of these bottle can be found in the Machane Yehuda area of Jerusalem, so buyer beware!
Chief Rabbinate Report showing the bogus olive oil labels. 005שעג


  • Sarah
    November 30, 2012 - 02:37 | Permalink

    I just bought olive oil in a very large chareidi supermarket for an extremely low price.
    The bottle looks genuine and boasts a Landau hechsher including the hologram sticker.
    Do i have reason for concern based solely on the price?

  • rachel
    December 3, 2012 - 09:08 | Permalink

    from beit yosef and rav ovadia and cochav yair – tzur yigal kosher lemehadrin and it has shmanim tzimchiim – so did i get a bogus one ? it says naki from chashash of orla and shviit …

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