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After reading about scandals involving adulterated (and sometimes fake) olive oil, I decided to test a bottle of Bertolli olive oil. Bertolli in particular has been sued for selling fake olive oil, and successfully fended off the case by claiming their suppliers defrauded them.

The bottle had about an ounce left in it. I placed it in the fridge for about 11 hours, and it's still liquid. From my understanding, olive oil should solidify in the fridge. Is this conclusive proof that the oil was not real olive oil?

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How do you measure your fridge temperature? Do you have a thermometer, especially near where the oil was? It can be that your entire fridge is too warm, or that the place where the oil was is too warm. – rumtscho Jun 26 '12 at 5:07
I'll put it in the vegetable crisper when I get home - for science! – smcg Jun 26 '12 at 15:47
The vegetable crisper is expected to be warmer than the rest of the fridge, I think (and wetter, but that shouldn't affect the oil in the bottle). – rumtscho Jun 26 '12 at 15:57
Oh, what's the coldest part? I had assumed the crisper because it's the lowest. – smcg Jun 26 '12 at 16:04
@smcg: It depends on the fridge, but often it's the bottom shelf in the back. The purpose of the crisper is to increase humidity by reducing circulation, which means it also ends up a bit warmer. – Jefromi Jun 26 '12 at 16:18
up vote 18 down vote accepted

How liquid was it when you say liquid? Our kitchen is very cold in winter and may very well get to fridge temperature at night time and the olive oil gets white balls of solidified oil in it, and then goes very sludgy, making it difficult to pour, if not impossible. But it doesn't exactly solidify. So it depends on whether you mean it is completely liquid like normal or not.

This website implies that most oils should be unpourable by 35F (1.7C), which is the lowest temperature for a fridge (i.e. any particular fridge or part of a fridge may be slightly warmer than this):
(This same information is found on a multitude of sites, so I do not believe this is the original source)

However, it also says that olive oils may be "winterized" which means they do not clump or cloud, even at 32F/0C. This is so they can be used in salad dressings, etc, that are stored in the fridge. So you would need to find out if your olive oil had been so treated. I am not sure if this process is just used for oil sold for commercial use or not.

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because I deleted my self-answer, the end result was that placing it in the colder part of the fridge caused it to solidify. – smcg Jun 28 '12 at 14:07


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Please don't use ALL CAPS for your answers. – Aaronut Sep 5 '13 at 19:10

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