Olive Oil Commercial Grades

This why you need to pay attention to the label when buying olive oils:
All production begins by transforming the olive fruit into olive paste by crushing or pressing. This paste is then malaxed (slowly churned or mixed) to allow the microscopic oil droplets to agglomerate. The oil is then separated from the watery matter and fruit pulp with the use of a press (traditional method) or centrifugation (modern method). After extraction the remnant solid substance, called pomace, still contains a small quantity of oil.

The grades of oil extracted from the olive fruit can be classified as:

Virgin means the oil was produced by the use of mechanical means only, with no chemical treatment. The term virgin oil with reference to production method includes both Virgin and Extra-Virgin olive oil products, depending on quality.
Lampante oil is olive oil extracted by virgin (mechanical) methods but not suitable as food; lampante is Italian for “lamp”, referring to the use of such oil for burning in lamps. Lampante oil can be used for industrial purposes, or refined (see below) to make it edible.
Refined means that the oil has been chemically treated to neutralize strong tastes (characterized as defects) and neutralize the acid content (free fatty acids).

Virgin olive oil (including the grades extra-virgin olive oil and virgin olive oil) therefore cannot contain any refined oil.
Olive pomace oil means oil extracted from the pomace using solvents, mostly hexane, and by heat.

Extra-virgin olive oil Comes from virgin oil production only, and is of higher quality: among other things, it contains no more than 0.8% free acidity (see below), and is judged to have a superior taste, having some fruitiness and no defined sensory defects.
Virgin olive oil Comes from virgin oil production only, but is of slightly lower quality, with free acidity of up to 1.5%, and is judged to have a good taste.
Refined olive oil is the olive oil obtained from virgin olive oils by refining methods that do not lead to alterations in the initial glyceridic structure. It has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.3 grams per 100 grams (0.3%) and its other characteristics correspond to those fixed for this category in this standard. This is obtained by refining virgin olive oils with a high acidity level and/or organoleptic defects that are eliminated after refining.

Oils labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are primarily refined olive oil, with a small addition of virgin-production to give taste.

Please note that all of Zetouna® olive oils are Hand harvested, Cold Pressed and 100% Extra virgin olive oil.

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