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What is the difference between Olive and Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

What is the difference between Olive and Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Italy is the second largest oil producing country in the world. However, there is still some confusion as to what defines extra virgin olive oil from olive oil. Let us shed some light!

Extra Virgin Olive Oil 

When the olives have reached the right level of ripeness, they are harvested by hand and pressed with a mechanical process. The olives all go through the same path: washing, separation from the leaves, milling (in a tank called "gramola", kneader), centrifugation where the oil separate from the water and pomace (residue of pulp from the milling) and eventually filtration.

What separates extra virgin olive oil among the rest is the level of oleic acids: extra virgin olive oil cannot exceed 0.8g per 100g. The lower the acidity, the better.

European regulation number n. 2568/91 established precise quality standards so that an oil can be sold and labeled as "Extra Virgin Olive Oil". In addition to the acidity threshold mentioned above, this product must be extracted using cold mechanical instruments with temperatures not exceeding 27 degrees. 

"Cold press using mechanical processes" is how to recognise it.  

Virgin Olive Oil

Similarly to extra virgin olive oil, Virgin Oil uses a mechanical method for extraction but the acidity is higher and can be up to 2%. 

Less intense, not as flavoursome as the extra virgin olive oil, also the quality of the oil may decrease in time which is also why you will hardly find any Virgin Olive Oil in the market. 

Lampante

With an acidity higher than 2%, the Lampante is considered not edible and cannot be commercialised. 

Olive Oil

Olive oil is the result of the Lampante oil obtained using heat and/or chemicals treatments during the extraction such as deacidification, deodorisation, discolouration, and virgin oil. In this case the acidity rate must not exceed 1%. 

It can be used in cooking as it has a higher smoking point than extra virgin olive oil. It'll say on the label "Made by refined Olive Oil & Virgin Olive Oils". 

What's in a drop of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

98% Fat Substances, in 3 varieties:

1) Saturated Fats (3-15%)
2) Monounsaturated Fats (65-85%): useful to lower the bad LDL cholesterol, and increase the good HDL. Contains oleic acid. 
3) Polyunsaturated Fats (3-15%): commonly known as omega 3 and 6 and considered "essential" because our body cannot synthesise them. 

Remaining 2% contributed to the fruity smells (artichokes, almond, pine, nut, grass, etc.) the biological properties such as the antioxidants, pigments, etc.

What are my rights as a consumer?

Well, it is in your rights to ask as much information as you need. We operate on a transparency policy and our suppliers are so proud of their products that they often share the organoleptic analysis with us. And we are more than happy to show them to you. If you want to know what the acidity of an extra virgin olive oil is, or anything else really, feel free to email us at hello[@]theredbeetle.com. We'll get back to you right away!

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