Extra Virgin Olive Oil is known for its numerous health benefits and exquisite flavor. It is one of the pillars of the Mediterranean diet and has been consumed for centuries due to its versatility in cooking. In this blog post, we will tell you how to differentiate high-quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
In addition to being the best of the best in the kitchen, it is also one of the most common foods prone to food fraud.
What makes an Olive Oil "Extra Virgin"?
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is directly extracted from olives, the fruit of the olive tree, solely by mechanical means. This means that no chemicals are used to extract the oil.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the highest quality category among olive oils.
In terms of quality control, it usually undergoes two tests:
- Physical-chemical test: which measures various chemical characteristics such as the fatty acid content and acidity of the oil.
- Sensory test: where the oil is smelled and tasted under controlled conditions.
Characteristics that distinguish Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Extremely low acidity
Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a maximum acidity level of 0.8%.
This low acidity indicates that the oil has been extracted from olives in good maturity conditions and processed properly.
- Exceptional flavor and aroma
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is characterized by its intense and fruity flavor, with herbal nuances.
Its sensory profile may vary depending on the region and olive varieties used in its production.
- Cold extraction process
Extra Virgin Olive Oil undergoes a cold extraction process. This means that the olives are not subjected to high temperatures during the oil extraction. This process helps preserve the beneficial compounds and the characteristic flavor of the oil.
- High content of antioxidants and nutrients
Extra Virgin Olive Oil retains a high concentration of natural antioxidants, such as polyphenols, which have health benefits and protect the body against oxidative damage.
It also contains vitamin E and beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids for health.
What makes Extra Virgin Olive Oil 'fake'?
In most cases, when olive oil is fake, it is because it is a lower-quality virgin or refined olive oil that has been labeled as ‘Extra Virgin Olive Oil’. These oils are often diluted with other oils like sunflower Oil.
Furthermore, they do not meet the quality standards of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
How to detect 'fake' Extra Virgin Olive Oil?
There are several tests to determine whether Extra Virgin Olive Oil is fake or authentic.
These tests aim to detect if pure olive oil has been mixed with low-quality products such as seeds, nuts, or other oils.
These testing methods have attracted the attention of manufacturers who can subtly detect if the oil is adulterated or not, trace its geographical origin, and provide consumer assurance.
Some producers have started using blockchain technology to record the product’s journey and provide security regarding its origin.
Another alternative, such as using color-changing labels on olive oil packaging to ensure proper transportation, could play a significant role in fighting fraud.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is highly valued for its purity, nutritional quality, and sensory excellence.
It is important to remember that Extra Virgin Olive Oil is more expensive, but its quality and health benefits make it an outstanding choice for those seeking a high-quality option. That’s why it’s important to know how to differentiate high-quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.