Sunday, January 2, 2011

Spectrum Oil Alert

Spectrum olive oil

I recently purchased several liter bottles of Spectrum’s Organic Mediterranean Olive Oil which has been a staple in my kitchen for many, many years. Unfortunately, when I opened one of these bottles, I got a nasty surprise. The oil smelled and tasted disgusting!

When I called Spectrum, the CSR took detailed notes and then suggested I open the second bottle. It was as funky as the first! By now, I’m getting a little freaked out despite the offers of coupons to replace the product.

A few days later I was in the store where I purchased the oil and told the grocery manager about my experience. We marched over to the shelf and saw that bottles with a similar production date were on the shelf. She took a few to open and guess what!! They were equally as disgusting as the ones I had purchased months before. The shelf was cleared immediately.

The store called Spectrum the following day and arranged to send the whole lot back for testing. However, Spectrum said they will not release the results of those tests. So I called again and this time their tune was slightly different. The CSR kept reiterating that it was ‘an isolated incident’ that was probably due to improper storage or handling (which it may be) and I could chose not to buy their products. What’s the loss of one customer when the alternative might be a very public recall of a product unfit for consumption!!

So I decided to alert the conscientious consumers who frequent this site. If any of you have run across one of these bad bottles, please contact us so we can inform Spectrum that this is NOT an isolated incident. And you should call Spectrum yourself if you’ve had a problem!!!

Here’s the production code on the funky oil:

06 JUL 1200xxxx

This experience was quite instructive. It proves once again that organics are in the grip of corporate-think. But perhaps even more disturbing is the realization that no one else noticed that this oil was not quite right. Is the American palette so dead that it can’t tell the difference between wholesome and unwholesome food? How can we possibly ‘fix’ the dilemma of industrial food production if as consumers we are unable to discern the quality of the foods on supermarket shelves? It’s all too depressing to contemplate . . .

  1. DNWord

    Friday, January 7, 2011 - 21:12:01

    Just for your information — olive oil will become rancid (smell bad, though still remain edible to the dead American palate) if exposed to light. That’s why many olive oils come in light-proof metal containers. Many oils and grains, and even flour, can become rancid if kept for too long.

  2. nogmos

    Friday, January 7, 2011 - 23:31:12

    Yes. We are aware of that possibility. Spectrum’s recent communications indicate that they are taking this seriously and trying to figure out exactly what went wrong where. Perhaps rancidity. Perhaps something else.

  3. Virginia

    Sunday, March 13, 2011 - 19:07:14

    I opened a bottle of this oil today to cook with. I was first struck by a smell while it heated up in my pan. I couldn’t pin point like some soap or something on the bottom of my pan was burning. The only new thing was the oil which I have never used before. I poured some in a plate and asked a friend to taste it with me on some bread. I could bearly get the stuff passed my lips; bitterness, grossness, like when you have to close your eyes and shake your head afterwards to forget the taste. My friend suggested that maybe it was a stronger oil then I was used to, but I have been cooking with olive oil for a long time and for my entire career as a private chef (I cook a lot!!!) This was like nothing I have ever tasted.
    I curiously search the problem online as I am out of the country and would have missed on the news had there been a recall or general reviews. Finding this article made me feel better about my taste for olive oil.
    The production date on my bottle is 07JAN12002244 W002318
    I hope this helps. I would like more information about this case so I can spread the word to other in my business, on facebook/word of mouth. I always try to buy organics, but won’t buy this again regardless of what I hear, too many other choices.
    Thanks for your time

  4. nogmos

    Sunday, March 13, 2011 - 20:12:38

    Spectrum claimed it was an ‘isolated’ occurrence but are not convinced. Here are some things you can do:

    1. Contact Spectrum directly by phone and tell them when you bought the oil, where you purchased it and give them the code #. They may send you a detailed form to fill out and they will probably send you coupons to cover the cost of the funky bottle.

    2. Then call the store where you bought it and have them check other bottles on the shelf. Spectrum will probably want any stock that is bad returned to them.

    Thanks for your comments and please let us know about your experience with Spectrum on this issue.

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