That extra-virgin olive oil you drizzle over your salad may not be all it’s cracked up to be.

In a recent Montreal Gazette story, reporter Susan Semenak says olive oil fraud is rampant throughout the world, as some importers and distributors cut the expensive queen of oils with much cheaper sunflower or other vegetable oils.

Last year, three Canadian importers and distributors of olive oil were convicted under the Canada Food and Drug Act. Among them was Toronto-based importer and distributor of Emma, Casa Italia and Cortina Foods brands which was selling olive oil labeled extra-virgin but found to be 50 per cent sunflower oil. Santa Maria Foods, also of Toronto,markets Mastro olive oil and was convicted of unlawfully importing oil labeled as extra-virgin olive oil that was, in fact, blended oil containing approximately 50 per cent sunflower oil, Semenak says.

How can you tell if you’re buying the real stuff? Well, price is usually a good indication. The cheaper the extra-virgin oil, the more suspicious you should be. Quality olive oil is expensive to produce and if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is, says Semenak.

She also offers tips on how to find the true liquid gold and what to look for when tasting an oil. The best olive oils are bottled at the estates where the olives were grown, she says.