The EU promotes the classification of oils according to rigorous parameters, in order to safeguard the high value of olive oil, preventing its mixing with less commercially valuable oils, such as sesame and sunflower seed oils. This is aimed at protecting the consumer from counterfeit products.
“Virgin oil” is any oil that has not been subjected to any extraction process other than that the strictly mechanical, without the use of solvents or other chemical manipulations, and which has not been mixed with other oils. In order to deserve the name of “extra-virgin“, the oil must be completely free from defects in the tasting and fully meet the chemical and physical parameters of which one of the most important is the degree of free acidity (expressed as the weight percentage of oleic acid).
Names And Definitions Of Olive Oils
Virgin olive oils
Oils obtained from the fruit of the olive tree solely by mechanical or other physical means under particular thermal conditions that do not lead to alterations in the oil, which have not undergone any treatment other than washing, decantation, centrifugation or filtration, to the exclusion of oils obtained using solvents or by re-esterification process and any mixture with oils of other kinds.
Virgin olive oils are classified and described as follows:
- Extra-virgin olive oil: virgin olive oil of an absolutely perfect taste, whose acidity expressed in oleic acid may not exceed 0.8 g per 100 g;
- Virgin olive oil (the term may be used in production and wholesale trade): virgin olive oil of perfect taste, whose acidity expressed in oleic acid can not exceed 2 g per 100 g;
Lampante olive oil
Virgin olive oil with a free acidity (in terms of oleic acid) greater than 2 g per 100 g, and/or with other characteristics which comply with those laid down for this category.