Accounting for 16% of the database's recorded cases, olive oil is the food most subject to fraud, according to the Journal of Food Sciences study. In most cases, experts say, consumers are merely getting a bad deal -- regular olive oil instead of pricier extra virgin, say, or a less expensive variety from Greece instead of Italy as the label proclaims. But in rare cases, varieties of non-food-grade oil may be added in, posing a health risk, Steketee says. In one of the more famous cases, more than 600 people in Spain died in 1981 after consuming "olive oil" that was actually a non-food-grade rapeseed oil intended as an industrial lubricant. She suggests sticking to brands you know and sources you trust.
By Kelli Grant, SmartMoney