Avocado oil is nearly always adulterated with cheap soybean oil
13 January 2022
Over the past several years, avocado oil has really grown in popularity due to the many known health benefits of avocado fruit. But is all avocado oil created equally? Not exactly.
New research published in the journal Food Control has found that, much like olive oil, avocado oil purity and quality varies dramatically.
The report found that the vast majority of commercially available avocado oils labeled as “extra virgin” and “refined” are adulterated and / or of poor quality. A whopping 82 percent were also found to have gone rancid before their expiration date.
Disturbingly, three of the 22 “avocado oils” tested as part of the research did not even contain avocado oil at all, and were instead composed of something else entirely such as soybean oil.
Study co-author Selina Wang says she expected to find “some percentage of adulterants” within the lineup, but was instead shocked to learn that all of the avocado oils tested were adulterated.
“This study analyzed avocado oils currently on the market in the U.S. to evaluate their quality (e.g., free fatty acidity, peroxide value, UV absorbances, vitamin E) and purity (e.g., fatty acids, sterols, triacyglycerols),” she said.
“Our results showed that the majority of commercial samples were oxidized before reaching the expiration date listed on the bottle. In addition, adulteration with soybean oil at levels near 100% was confirmed in two ‘extra virgin’ and one ‘refined’ sample.”
Know what you’re buying before feeding potentially rancid or adulterated oils to your family
An oil can only be considered authentic and pure when no other additives or oils have been added to it. It must be 100 percent what it says it is, otherwise it cannot be labeled as a specific oil.
Other factors considered include quality of raw material, the extraction process used, and storage methods. However, the biggest factor is “mostly related to the level of hydrolysis of the fruit and oxidation of the oil.”
Based on this, the study’s authors are now compiling a database “to support standards development for this industry.”
All of the 22 “avocado oil” samples obtained for the research were purchased from one of six different grocery stores or two online sources. They covered major brands and types of oils, including extra virgin, unrefined and refined. The oils came from either California, Mexico, Brazil or Spain.
The vast majority of them tested as “low quality,” meaning they were improperly stored or stored for too long, or used damaged or rotten fruits. In some cases, extreme or harsh processing damaged the quality of the oil.
“While previous researchers have proposed a healthy level of free fatty acidity (FFA) should be between 0.1% and 0.55% for refined avocado oils, three of the 22 samples had FFA values close to 2.5%,” reported Dr. Joseph Mercola about the study’s findings.
“Extra virgin avocado oils had an FFA range between 0.03% and 2.69%, with an overall average of 1.31%.”
Unhealthy avocados are those that become damaged, bruised or overripe. In some cases, the fruit is infested with insects or even black before it is overheated, processed and pumped into bottles labeled avocado oil.
Another major problem with most commercial avocado oils is high oxidation. Oxidated oil is highly inflammatory and essentially toxic, and yet most oils that remain liquid at room temperature fall into this category, avocado oil included.
A lack of industry standards is largely to blame for this disturbing situation, which is why some are now calling for reform. The reality is that true avocado oil is extremely healthy, but one of the problems is finding the real thing.
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Also published on Foodscience.news