Olive-oil-categories

Annex VII (Part VIII) of Regulation (EC) No 1308/2013, expressly provides descriptions and definitions of olive oils and olive-pomace oils, while the same regulation provides the marketing standards for the four edible categories of olive oil sold within the countries of the European Union (category 1, 2, 5, 8).

The following figure (figure 4), shows the eight quality categories of olive oil.

Figure 4: Olive oil categories

All olive oil categories (edible and non-edible) are analyzed as follows:

It is the highest and most expensive category of oil which is obtained directly from the fruit of the olive, by mechanical means only, under conditions which do not degrade the product and which has not undergone any other processing (chemical or industrial).

To put it in simple terms, it is the juice of the olive fruit that has a perfect aroma (mainly freshly sliced olive fruit) and a strong fruity taste with remarkable nutritional and beneficial properties for the human health.


In order to classify an olive oil as extra virgin, its acidity should not exceed 0,8%, its other chemical characteristics must comply with those laid down in Regulation (EEC) No 2568/91, and it must not have any organoleptic defect.

It is important to note that the absence of a fruity aroma, automatically classifies the oil in the lampante category (category 3).

Virgin olive oil

It is of inferior quality than extra virgin, it is also obtained directly from the fruit of the olive, by mechanical means and has not undergone any other processing (chemical or industrial).

The main difference with extra virgin is in the appearance of some negative attributes (defects) in its organoleptic characteristics capable of degrading it in quality.


In order for an olive oil to qualify as virgin, its acidity should not exceed 2%, its other chemical characteristics should comply with those laid down in Regulation (EEC) No 2568/91 and its organoleptic defects must not exceed in intensity 2.5 units.

Lampante

Lampante is also obtained directly from the fruit of the olive, by mechanical means and has not undergone any other processing (chemical or industrial).

The main difference with extra virgin and virgin olive oils is that lampante is a non-edible category of oil either because its acidity is rather high (more than 2%) or because its defects are so intense that it is unpleasant to the nose and the mouth.

As previously noted, olive oils which lack the positive attribute of a fruity aroma, are classified in the lampante category.

For such an oil to become edible, it must first undergo a process called refining.


In order for an oil to qualify as lampante, its acidity should exceed 2%, its other chemical characteristics should comply with those laid down in Regulation (EEC) No 2568/91 and its organoleptic defects must exceed 3.5 units.

Refined olive oil

Refined olive oil is a category of oil that is still not edible (in EU countries)* and is obtained from the refining of defective olive oils belonging to category 3.

The main stages of refining are:

neutralization of acidity (with caustic soda)

neutralization - deodorization of disturbing aromas and unpleasant taste (in vacuum and temperatures above 250°C)

discoloration (in vacuum with activated carbon)

Conditions during the process of refining an oil adversely affect its characteristics and quality. When the refining phase is completed, the resulting oil is odorless, colorless and tasteless.

*(In some markets, mainly in the American continent, it is considered edible and it is marketed under names like light olive oil or extra light olive oil)

Olive oil

Under EU law, in order for a refined olive oil to be released on the market, a small percentage of virgin or extra virgin olive oil should be added to it so that its taste, color and aroma can slightly improve.

"Olive oil" is therefore a category of oil derived from the blending of refined olive oil (category 4) with a small percentage of extra virgin or virgin (category 1 or 2) so that it becomes edible. It is inferior to the virgin quality (category 2) and exhibits defects in both aroma and taste. It is however better than the various seed oils available on the market as it keeps its basic composition and main structural feature of monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid.


In order for an oil to qualify as "olive oil", its acidity should not exceed 1% and its other chemical characteristics should comply with those laid down in Regulation (EEC) No 2568/91.

Crude olive-pomace oil

Crude olive-pomace oil is a category of oil obtained from the core of the olive after chemical treatment and is not edible.


In order to become edible, such an oil should first go through the refining process.

Refined olive-pomace oil

Refined olive-pomace oil is a category of oil that is not edible and is obtained from the refining of crude olive-pomace oils belonging to category 6.


When the refining phase is completed, the resulting oil is neutral (odorless, colorless, tasteless and acid-free).

Olive-pomace oil

Based on EU legislation, in order for a refined olive-pomace oil to be released on the market, a small percentage of virgin or extra virgin must be added to it so that the taste, color and aroma can slightly improve.

Thus, "olive-pomace oil" is a category of oil which comes from the blending of refined olive-pomace oil (category 7) with a small percentage of extra virgin or virgin (category 1 or 2) in order for it to become edible. It is inferior in quality to "olive oil" (category 5), but it is better than all the seed oils available on the market as it keeps its basic composition and main structural feature of monounsaturated fatty acid, oleic acid.


In order for an oil to qualify as "olive-pomace oil", its acidity should not exceed 1% and its other chemical characteristics should be in line with those laid down in Regulation (EEC) No 2568/91.