View Full Version : black olives and octopus ink

03-14-2003, 02:48 PM
Okay. I was talking to a vegan friend today at work, and she was relaying a story to me that another ar activist told her....

...that some cheaper brands of black olives are actually died with octopus ink??? has anyone else heard of this? If so, please fill me in as I no nothing of this topic! :huh:


03-14-2003, 03:14 PM
The only information I have found on this is here:


and this on the ink:


I do wonder what the ingrediant is named ...

03-14-2003, 06:37 PM
I looked on my can of black olives and the ingredients are, ripe olives, water, salt, ferrous gluconate added to stablize color. It is a can of store brand olives. I did a computer search on ferrous gluconate and it is iron, I checked two animal ingredient list and it was not on there. Now I don't know what to think.

03-14-2003, 07:57 PM
It seems like octopus ink would be kinda expensive. Are you sure they weren't just pulling your leg?

03-14-2003, 10:57 PM
Thanks for that link, Spaceman! I tried doing a few searches, but was unable to find anything other than what you already found.

yeah, I know...my initial reaction was that the idea of using octopus ink to dye olives WAS totally outrageous, and didn't believe it myself. The person who brought this up originally is a hardcore vegan/activist, and was apparently pretty serious about the issue. He's from the UK and made it sound like it's a pretty well known fact over there...Unfortunately, I'm hearing all of this second hand, and wish I was able to talk to this guy myself...I'm just really baffled and appauled by this idea! Maybe some of the vegan brits on this board may know more of this???

03-15-2003, 09:31 AM
...Unfortunately, I'm hearing all of this second hand, and wish I was able to talk to this guy myself...

Don't you hate that? I googled myself silly this morning and couldn't find any connection between octopus/squid ink and the manufacturing of olives. This doesn't mean that it doesn't exist. Just that I couldn't find anything.

I did find out that black olives are colored using ferrous gluconate, as shelia said. Ferrous gluconate is a form of iron and is also used in tablet form to treat anemia. Maybe someone with a chem background can explain it's manufacturing?

Purchasing organic olives in the mean time may give you some peace of mind. :)

03-15-2003, 10:51 PM
Heh. I googled myself silly, too :)

I actually just got back from a family get together at my brother's house. I wasn't suprised to see a tray of three different types of olives sitting out with the appetizers (my sister-in-law is a big olive eater), so I asked her about this baffling issue...She didn't know anything about it, but she did say that she wouldn't be surprised since she's heard that sometimes pasta is dyed with octopus ink. So I did a google search on that and this is what I found:

Vancouver Aquarium - AquaFacts: Octopuses & Squids
... Our local red octopus, Octopus rubescens, can inflict a ... Black pasta is coloured using
squid ink. ... restaurants sometimes serve pickled octopus, called octopothi. ...
www.vanaqua.org/Visitor_Information/ AquaFacts/Octopuses_and_Squids.htm - 19k -

The link didn't work, so I couldn't read anything more about it, but there were several other pages that popped up from the search that said "octopus (or squid) dyed pastas." Grrrrrrr.

Anyway, so nothing confirmed yet about the olives, but now I really wouldn't be surprised.

03-15-2003, 11:05 PM
I have seen this occasionally being sold as some kind of gourmet delicacy--it is black, and the squid ink is listed on the label, so it's not something that one is likely to accidentally consume.

The olive thing sounds like an urban legend. Surely if squid or octopus ink was used it would be labelled as such on the label, and using this rather than some cheap dye would boost the cost.

If a lot of vegans in the UK think it is true, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is.

03-15-2003, 11:19 PM
Black ripe olives are oxidized during processing; they are never dyed.

03-16-2003, 11:00 AM
I live in California and we have olive trees all over the place and the olives are already black when they pick them off the trees.
Black olives are ripe olives, green olives are unripe olives. They ad the ferrous gluconate to keep them from fading. I don't see why there would even be a need for octupus ink or any other form of dye. I think Rosemary is right it is a legend started by someone who has never seen ripe olives on a tree.

I don't see why anyone would want to eat black pasta, yuk!:rolleyes:

03-16-2003, 03:38 PM
I don't know anything about olives (yuck! ;) ) but I've heard of/seen the squid-ink pasta before, and like Rosemary said it's considered a gourmet delicacy, and quite expensive. I really don't see how mass-produced cheap olives would contain such an exotic ingredient!

03-16-2003, 06:26 PM
Thank you everybody for trying to help me crack this mystery! If I find out any more about this, I'll be sure to post!

Originally posted by Rosemary
If a lot of vegans in the UK think it is true, that doesn't necessarily mean that it is.

Oh, I know...that's why I'm here asking all you guys whatcha think! ;)

03-17-2003, 11:56 AM
He's from the UK and made it sound like it's a pretty well known fact over there..

Umm... not that I or any vegans I know have heard!! The only issue I am aware of with olives is the occasional use of lactic acid.

03-17-2003, 08:33 PM
Here is what Christi Darling, of http://calolive.org, has to say:

You are correct, it must be urban legend. Black olives are naturally oxidized during processing by bubbling air into the tanks, and nothing else.

Best regards,

Christi Darling
Admin Asst