The ancient Greeks said that the goddess Athena had created the olive tree. King David hired guards to protect Israel's olive groves and warehouses. Ancient peoples used olive oil not just for consumption and cooking, but also as perfume, anointment for the dead, soap, and lights. In ancient Greece, athletes ritually rubbed it all over their bodies. It has been the fountain of great wealth and power, anointing the noblest of heads throughout history. Olive oil was used to produce both medicine and cosmetics: Hippocrates called it “the great healer” and Homer “liquid gold”, Galen praised it for its positive effects on health. Currently, by contrast with its history, the Spanish Olive Oil Agency (AAO) surveys has revealed that prices paid to olive growers have been excessively low in recent seasons and have not managed to cover their production costs. This situation is apparently inexplicable considering the exclusive well-known nutritional and sensory properties of virgin olive oil. The reasons could rely on the broad and unenforced standards for extra virgin olive oil in the consumer market, which allows a wide range of olive oil qualities to be marketed as extra virgin. As a result, many consumers are unable to distinguish quality differences and gravitate toward less costly extra virgin olive oils.
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