OUR DIGITAL EDITIONS
Click here to view a video of
olive oil harvesting and production.
(See page 13 for details.)
Clockwise from right: Growers
picking olives in Sicily for the new
harvest season; olives being loaded
into a bath to be washed at the
beginning of the milling process;
growers bringing their olives to the
cooperative mill in Tuscany.
Olive oil tips
; Use instead of butter on baked potatoes.
; Top your pizza with olive oil for a different flavor and more nutrition.
; Adding olive oil to your cooked pasta
provides added flavor while keeping the
noodles from clumping together.
; Drizzle over air-popped popcorn in lieu
of butter and add your favorite seasoning.
; Top a small amount on your dog’s or
cat’s food to give them a health boost and
a shiny coat.
; Use EVOO to make your own homemade
; Generously coat root vegetables like
sweet potatoes, carrots and onions in EVOO
with some seasonings and roast for a nice
side dish at a family gathering.—LB
HERE ARE a few
ideas for incorporating more
tasteful Kirkland Signature
Italian or Tuscan EVOO into your life:
tion, and has worked diligently to ensure its
Kirkland Signature EVOO is authentic and
traceable, Lopez says.
“We have always been involved in this
program by meeting the farmers and touring
the mills and the processing plants in order to
hold everyone in the olive oil production pro-
cess accountable for the olives they bring in,”
she says. “This ranges from the farmer who is
registered with the mill, to the mill that grades
and batches the olives as they come in daily.”
Lopez says Costco recently took extra
measures to better ensure that only 100 per-
cent authentic Italian extra-virgin olive oil is
sold at the warehouse by incorporating the
International Organization for Standardization
(ISO) traceability system into the
processing of Kirkland Signature
Italian EVOO. This means a product has met
a list of demanding criteria created by the
Geneva-based ISO to ensure;origin, authen-
ticity and safety through the food chain.
“Costco is the first company to offer such
a large-scale traceability certification program
for extra-virgin olive oil,” Lopez says. She
explains that in 2007, the ISO, which has been
establishing global food standards since 1947,
created a traceability system to ensure the ori-
gins of food products to establish
security in the food chain.;
The farmers who grow olives
for Costco are also subject to audits
by Bureau Veritas, the international
audit company that provides the
testing and certification services to
ensure ISO standards are being met.
Bureau Veritas meets with Italian
farmers to verify the number of
trees they have, production records
and other data.
A label on the back of each
bottle of Kirkland Signature Italian
EVOO features the Bureau Veritas
Commitment to sustainability
Costco has had a goal of working closely
with Italian olive growers since 1998—so
much so, in fact, that the program is incorporated into the company’s sustainability policy.
The policy says that Costco directly supports thousands of small farm holders in
Tuscany who have been third-party verified
to meet standards that dictate the types of
olives they grow, the location of their groves
and where the milling and bottling is done.
Olive oils produced under these conditions
provide excellent quality in taste and lower
As a consumer I feel much better knowing that I am getting the real deal when I pick
up the Kirkland Signature EVOO that is
within easy reach in my pantry—right next to
my antioxidant-rich dark chocolate! C
Once the oil has been tested and found to
have no defects, such as a bad taste or an off-smell, and stays inside an acidity level at or
below 0.8 percent, it’s called “extra-virgin.”
Any olive oil that doesn’t meet these standards can’t be called extra-virgin. Instead, oil
that fails EVOO testing typically undergoes a
high-temperature refining process, resulting
in a pale-colored, neutral-tasting oil. This is
used for “pure” and “extra-light” olive oils,
which have a range from very mild to little
olive flavor. These work well for cooking
when you don’t want to add much additional
flavor to your dish.
What should good quality EVOO taste
like? It’s a matter of fruitiness, bitterness and
pungency, Mahaffy explains.
“In a good extra-virgin olive oil, these
three characteristics should be well balanced,”
he says. “Fruitiness in extra-virgin olive oil is
meant to convey the level of green or ripe fruit.
Think of fresh vegetables, artichokes or green
grass as you taste. Bitterness or a sharpness is a
good characteristic, and the balance between
fruitiness and bitterness is important.
Pungency refers to the peppery quality of
extra-virgin olive oil. This characteristic means
the extra-virgin olive oil is fresh and alive with
polyphenols, a vital class of antioxidant.”
Costco’s efforts to ensure quality
In recent months EVOO made the headlines in a not-so-great way, with claims that
certain groups in Italy make a huge profit by
exporting less expensive oils labeled as
EVOO. It was reported that police in Italy
confiscated 7,000 tons of faux olive oil, much
of which was bound for U.S. stores (Costco
was not among them).
Costco is fully aware of this illegal situa-