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Olive Oil Tycoons

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We cook with olive oil often, but we don’t often think about where our olive oil comes from, let alone if it is sustainably produced. Nearing 50% of the world’s olive oil comes from Andalucia, a southern region in Spain, where over-supply and dropping prices are quickly becoming a problem.

Olive oil expert and food writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins takes a closer look at why Spanish olive oil is turning into a commodity, closer to kitchen grease than extra-virgin. The problem has its roots in subsidies given by the European Union. These subsidies, generous and awarded to the larger olive oil companies, are leading toward over-production and away from sustainable farming practices.  

If we can’t revert to Roman customs, like a Financial Times writer suggested, and begin bathing in olive oil, Jenkins offers another, more reasonable solution: shift our support to high-quality, smaller-scale producers. It’s a small change, but an important one nonetheless.

Do Bad Politics Thwart Good Olive Oil? from Zester Daily