Olive Oil - Q & A

What its 'olive oil'?

A. Olive oil is olive juice, plain and simple

What is ‘Virgin?’

A. Virgin means mechanical extraction. The oil or juice is extracted by machines with no heat or chemicals used in the process.

What is ‘Extra’?

A. Mechanically extracted (virgin) olive oil is not all the same quality. 'Extra' is the highest quality and is thus classified when virgin olive oil scores a 6.5 or higher on a laboratory analytical test scale of 0.0 - 7.0 AND a ‘No defects’ rating on an organoleptic (taste or sensory) cutting by certified olive oil masters.

What is ‘refined’ oil?

A. Olive oil that is not suitable for human consumption is refined by a heat and chemical process. Chemically refined oil is totally insipid (0% acidity) which means it is flavorless with no quality standards stated or implied. Refined oil is mixed with virgin, typically lampante, for color and flavor.

What is ‘pomace’ oil?

A. Pomace is a residue produced by a heat and chemical process from the waste of the 'virgin' olive oil after the virgin olive oil is extracted. It is also insipid (0% acidity) with no flavor and no quality standards stated or implied. Pomace is used as a cheap alternative to ‘refined’ oil in order to lower the product cost of the packers who mix it with virgin and refined oils.

What is ‘pure’ olive oil? What is ‘light’ olive oil? What are ‘olive oil blends’?

A. 'Pure', 'Light', 'Extra Light', etc. are not olive oil classifications. They are mixes of refined and/or pomace with virgin oil – generally high acidic ‘ordinary’ or ‘lampante’. Pure = olive oil that has been refined ('pure' = impure). ‘First pressing’ and ‘cold pressed’ are outdated terms – virgin olive oil is mechanically extracted by centrifuge. Many of the products sold and labeled as 'olive oil' are 'blends' (or mixes) of refined/pomace oil with seed, soybean, hazelnut and/or other non-olive oils. These mixes/'blends' are generally 90-95% pomace/refined/non-olive oil with 5-10% virgin oil.

Is there a difference between real extra virgin olive oil and the refined oil mixes??

A. Yes. They are two entirely different products. The difference is similar to the difference between orange juice & orange soda – one product is 100% natural the other is chemically produced. Refined mixes are cheap to produce. Products labeled as ‘olive oil’ are sold at a high price – selling cheap mixes benefits the seller not the olive oil consumer. Extra virgin olive oil is an entirely natural product and is more expensive to produce.

Only real extra virgin olive oil has the flavor enhancing properties and all the documented health benefits associated with olive oil.