Olive oil is not extra virgin olive oil!

Organic Extra Virgin olive oil

A bit of our lack of knowledge and a bit of usage of inaccurate wording from chefs side, we have ended up watching on the web and on TV, episodes on cooking, recipes and various new ingredients introduction where the extra virgin olive oil is just called oil!

Calling the extra virgin olive oil just oil is incorrect and inaccurate, also calling it olive oil is inaccurate too.

”Oil” should be wiped off from our culinary and every day vocabulary.

In certain countries, we have heard people calling it “regular” oil but without knowing what they mean they refer to the refined olive oil product which is a a very low quality (=extremely low quality), product.

Extra virgin olive oil is not oil and it is not even olive oil.  If all of us love the olive juice, we should start naming this natural product properly. Why would we would name a silver piece as golden one? Because both of them are metals?

Before we continue to discover the truth and the real name let’s see some exceptions first for the usage of term ”olive oil”: ”olive oil” is the name of the juice derived from olives and by itself it consists of a category of products. One of the reasons why this exception still exists in several languages is to differentiate ”olive oil” from the other vegetables oils, which are generally cheap, lower quality products and without health benefits at all, i.e sunflower or rapeseed oil.

Now let’s discover why extra virgin olive oil can not be named as olive oil.

There are several types of juices obtained from the fruit of olive tree:

  1. Extra virgin olive oil:  It has superior taste quality and does not have taste (sensory) faults. Its lab analysis should show results below certain limits: one of them is acidity and more specifically of no more 0.8 % on free fatty acids. It appears to have a plethora of health benefits especially the organic ones as they do not contain pesticides residues. The lower than 0.8% acidity, the better quality of the extra virgin olive oil is. An extra virgin olive oil with acidity 0.5% is better than the one with acidity of 0.7%. This implies better harvesting method i.e. careful selection of olives and better process condition in the olive mill.
  2. Virgin olive oil : its quality appear to be lower than the extra virgin olive oil while acidity can be up to 2% on free fatty acids. Taste wise appears to have defects on aroma / scent and flavour. It is suitable for sale/consumption.
  • According to the Olive oil – Institute of Olive Council, Virgin olive oils are the oils obtained from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea L. ) solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions, particularly thermal conditions, that do not lead to alterations in the oil, and which have not undergone any treatment other than washing, decantation, centrifugation and filtration.
  1. Olive oil: it is a low quality product as it is refined product from a. bad quality virgin olive oil, b. previously cooked virgin olive oil and c. other oxidised virgin olive oil products. In our opinion, consumers should not consume this product at all. It appears to have no health benefits at all.
  2. Pomace oil: Extremely unpleasant smell and taste. This must not be consumed and it can cause serious harm if consumed by people.

It is obvious that as we move from extra virgin olive oil to pomace oil, the taste quality lowers massively to the degree where pomace oil can cause serious harm to humans if consumed.

In certain countries, there is a usage of ”pure olive oil” term and we can say categorically that there is no such thing as purity in olive oil as olive oil is a very low quality product which is derived from the refining process of used ”olive oil” products (through cooking, baking, and other oxidised olive oil products). 

Our advice here is to always read the label of the product! It is our obligation as consumers to do so! By law, in all countries, all olive oil products must have label with all the above information clearly stated.