Study Finds 82% Of Avocado Oil Is Stale Or Mislabeled + How To Choose A High-Quality Oil
Avocados have become a go-to source of healthy fats for many people. You can smear the superfood on toast for breakfast, freeze avocado and toss it into creamy smoothies, or use avocado oil for any roasting or greasing needs. While it's usually considered a healthy alternative to other vegetable oils, new research shows that the vast majority of avocado oil in the U.S. is either stale or impure.
The study, published in the journal Food Control, was conducted by food scientists at the University of California, Davis. The researchers analyzed commercial avocado oil and found that at least 82% of samples tested were stale before their expiration date or mixed with other types of vegetable oils, like sunflower, safflower, and soybean.
How did they find this?
The researchers tested 22 commercial brands of avocado oil with various price ranges and labels. "In addition to testing commercial brands, we also bought avocados and extracted our own oil in the lab, so we would know, chemically, what pure avocado oil looks like," lead researcher Selina Wang, Ph.D., said in a news release.
Of the 22 samples, they found that 15 were oxidized before their expiration dates, meaning they'd already lost flavor and health benefits from light, heat, and air exposure. Six of the samples were mixed with other types of oils. In fact, some bottles labeled "pure" or "extra-virgin" avocado oil actually contained almost 100% soybean oil.
How to make sure your avocado oil is high-quality.
The study lists these tips for consumers, to make sure any avocado oil you're buying is high-quality:
- Taste: Authentic, fresh, virgin avocado oil should taste grassy, buttery, and somewhat like mushrooms. Once rancid, the oil will start to smell like playdough.
- Color: Virgin avocado oil should be green; refined avocado oil should be light yellow.
- Quality: Make sure to buy a reasonably sized bottle so that it can be finished before the oil oxidizes. Check the oil's harvest date, which is a better indicator than the "best before" date.
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Abby Moore is an editorial operations manager at mindbodygreen. She earned a B.A. in Journalism from The University of Texas at Austin and has previously written for Tribeza magazine. She has covered topics ranging from regenerative agriculture to celebrity entrepreneurship. Moore worked on the copywriting and marketing team at Siete Family Foods before moving to New York.