What is Adulterated Oil and how to spot it?

I’m glad I got your attention and I will get to the point of the matter at hand.

Adulterated oils in particular Adulterated Olive Oil uses not only in soap but in every day consumption can be a time bomb waiting to take some one out.

What is adulterated Oil?

Firstly I surmise you have probably never heard of the term adulterated or unadulterated oils. That’s fine as nor did I before soaping and having a child.

What do the two have to do with each other? Well this is where the story begins as a story is often the best way to explain something new

Adulterated Oil

The definition of the word adulterated is as follows

“To render (something) poorer in quality by adding another substance”


With this in mind the concept of adulterated oils makes more sense.

Its pretty much the reduction of a pure oil to a poor quality by adding in cheaper oils to make up the volume.

This for most of my life was never an issue until I had my first child. If you don know by now the baby we use in many of our images is my daughter.

She unfortunately was born with a list of allergies that came as a shock to us. We found out by her having a reaction to certain foods.

We knew she had eczema but what we did not know was that eczema can also be a precursor to your child having allergies.

After a sever reaction to her prescribed doctor injections we knew that this was possibly more serious than we expected.

So we took her to an allergist to conduct a test to find out what she may be allergic to. Well a few things she is sensitive to and a few things she is absolutely allergic to. Cows milk and peanuts being on of them.

Well we knew to avoid those foods, so we became those parents who read every label of every food or product we would use on our baby.

Because that’s what you do as parent, reduce the harm done to your child to increase their chances of living a normal life.

We also knew she had eczema and we dealt with that by developing a soap that would keep her skin moisturized and nourished so much so that she barely has any break outs. Now we have a new issue to contend with in the form of allergies.

Adulterated Oil Discovery

I was researching new suppliers and if you don’t know we do a through test of any new supply before we put it on the market to our customers.

The same with our candle and soap products. Well during my research I had chosen a supplier that had good prices on products, mainly oils, and I wanted to give them a try.

It just so happen that around the same time I about to place that order something came up in my news feed about the company.

They were in court being sued for selling adulterated oils. so naturally this caught my eye and decided to investigate further.

What happened was that this company was selling olive oil in large quantities to resellers but the olive oil was not real olive oil. It came to pass that one of their customers took the time to have their oil tested.

What they found out was that their 100% was really 20% and the rest was a mixture of palm, peanut and other oils all mixed together and some sort of fragrance added to simulate the smell of olive oil.

Well how can this be?

How is it that this company did not notice right away that the oil they were being sold was not real.

I mean after all we all know what olive oil smells and taste like so what was the problem

Well the problem was that these charlatans were so good at disguising their oil that is was not detectable by smell nor taste.

Only thru lab work was it found out that the oil was not what It ought to be. So what does this have to do with being deadly, I mean ok its not all olive oil but its still vegetable oil.

How can vegetable oil be deadly?

adulterated olive oil

Well this is where it gets interesting.

As I mentioned already we found out that our daughter has allergies to peanuts… so what do you think would happen if she ingested some of that oil? c’mon I’m sure right now you can walk in to 10 of your friends homes and at least 8 of them cook with olive oil.

Think about that for a minute

You purchase a bottle of 100% pure olive oil and you take it home because you will cook with it or use it on your salad as a dressing.

What if you are allergic to any of the oils that it was adulterated with?

How would you know what to tell your doctor you ate?

You may say Oh I ate fish and think you are now allergic to the fish. Or if a salad it could be the kale or something.

Not knowing that your Olive oil is not real Olive Oil.

Here is the danger of using adulterated oil in soap.

Lets look at it from a soaping aspect. So you buy the olive oil in the food store well because its cheaper.

So not knowing about adulterated oils just knowing that you got a good deal and you are about to increase you profits because you found a good deal on olive oil.

Here are two potential things that may happen and why it could be dangerous to do so.

  1. You use a lye calculator to calculate how much lye you will need to convert this oil into soap. So you use 100% olive oil as your base oil. Of course in your recipe you will have other oils but because olive oil is usually used as the main ingredient you overall soap will come out not so good. Sometimes it comes out soft, oily or it just never reaches to trace. Trust me I’ve had this happened to me. Well what Happened? Well if your so called 100% olive oil was actually 20-50% olive oil then your lye calculator cannot account for the other oils and chemicals in that oil. You get a bad batch of soap and you wasted the rest of your ingredients and your time all because you didn’t know you were using adulterated oils.
  2. Another issue that could happen is that some how you mange to get trace and make a solid bar of soap. This is good, but what if a person sensitive to peanuts and peanut oil uses your soap that was adulterated with majority peanut oil? How would that affect their skin and by that matter your business if they sue or just spread that your soap made their skin break out in to rash. These examples are not that far fetched as it has already happened.

The Dangers of ingesting adulterated oils

Again this doesn’t seem to be a problem because its all vegetable based so whats the big deal. Well lets take a look at some statistics

“Peanut allergy is one of the most dangerous food allergies, and one of the least likely to be outgrown. In Western countries, the incidence of peanut allergy is between 1-3%. There has been a sudden increase in number of cases in the early 21st century.

It is one of the most common causes of food-related deaths. A meta-analysis found that death due to overall food-induced anaphylaxis was 1.8 per million person-years in people having food allergies, with peanut as the most common allergen” – Wikipedia

Somewhere around 150 to 200 people die in the U.S. each year because of food allergies.

It’s estimated that around 50 percent to 62 percent of those fatal cases of anaphylaxis were caused by peanut allergies – How stuff Works

Some allergies are so strong that just rubbing a peanut or a drop of cow’s milk can cause a person to break out in hives. Now imagine such a person who took home that bottle of adulterated olive oil to cook with.

What do you suppose may happen to them? DANGER such misrepresented oils can indeed kill a person.

Un-adulterated Olive Oil – The Good Stuff

adulterated olive oil

So how do you know if you are getting the right stuff?

For us at Bahamas Candle and Soap we took the time to test, check and verify our supplies way before they hit the shelf.

Yes it does come at a higher cost however when you think of the issues bad oil can cost its best to be safe than sorry.

A few things to keep in mind about good real Olive Oil and how to make sure you have the right item

  • Look for Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Look for a harvested date and stay within a 1 year period
  • Real Olive Oil last about 2 years after that it begins to go rancid
  • Look for the COOC or EVA on the label
  • Stay away from labels that state, cold pressed or even Natural the terms are not regulated
  • Remember once you open a bottle of Olive Oil the time begins to tick as it will begin to degrade

I know that this can be a lot to take in, but there is no need to worry. We are here to help you and ensure that you get the best supplies at reasonable prices. Take a look at our Oil selection in our Online Store.

Remember that not all oils are created equal. Be safe and be sure of what you use will do no harm to yourself, your family and of course your clients.

If you found this article useful please reach out to us here at Bahamas Candle and Soap so we can provide more news to help you on your journey of an entrepreneur.

Bahamas Soap Maker

Rashad has been making soaps since the inception of Bahamas Candle and Soap in 2008. Since this time he has taught a number of students how make homemade soap using the melt and pour process or the cold process of soap making. His preference is cold process soap making because of the versatility you have in designing not only the ingredients but the aesthetics of the soap. Soap making became more than a hobby for Rashad and he loves trying new techniques and teaching others how they too can make their own soap at home.

Recent Posts