Is Your Italian Olive Oil the Real Deal?

A smartphone app that tells you whether that olive oil (or balsamic vinegar or buffalo mozzarella) is really from Italy? Yes, it exists.

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Photo by: dulezidar

dulezidar

That bottle of good olive oil you just bought may claim on its label to have been made in Italy, but, since fraud is an issue, how can you know for sure that it’s the real deal? A new smartphone app aims to clear up any such murkiness.

The free non-profit-created app, Reliabitaly, allows users in Italy and around the world to verify the provenance of Italian provisions like olive oil, as well as such similarly protected products as buffalo mozzarella, Parmesan cheese, Prosecco, and Modena balsamic vinegar. Consumers can use the smartphone app to scan a product’s bar code and learn whether it was truly made in Italy as well as details about how it was made. (This video shows it in action.)

“The aim is to protect and preserve the global prestige of ‘Made in Italy’ products,” the app’s creators told English-language Italian news site The Local.

Some 221 high-end Italian-made products — not all of them food — are protected under EU’s Protected Designation of Origin status. They must meet a strict set of guidelines and hail from a specific region, but regulating the items can be challenging, and, despite efforts, fraud happens.

The app’s product database is reportedly still a work in progress, but it looks like a nifty, high-tech tool for consumers to use to make sure the fancy Italian olive oil they’re about to splash out is not a slick substitute.

Photo: iStock

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