Extra virgin olive oil
With the EEC Regulation n. 2568/91 and subsequent updates, the minimum quality standards set by the olive oil must be presented in order to be marketed under the heading “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”. An extra virgin olive oil must be obtained by extraction only with cold mechanical methods (with controlled temperatures lower by law at 28 ° C). The acidity of an extra virgin oil must never exceed 0.8%. In Italy, an identity card was created to define an extra virgin olive oil.
Unfortunately, especially for its high organoleptic qualities and therefore commercial, extra virgin olive oil is increasingly subject to fraud, which obviously damages consumers and that certainly requires a revision of the legislation to better define an extra virgin olive oil olive and its characteristics.
Before entering into the merits of its organoleptic qualities it is good to orient, who purchases an extra virgin olive oil, in some orientation considerations.
The first mistrust must arise when the unit price of this oil is far below the average of the other prices. To produce one Kg of extra virgin olive oil (including packaging), it is not possible to fall below 4.0 – 4.5 € per Kg; it follows that oils that are below this price must already alert us. If the oil is organic then the price can have a further added value. Therefore, when in supermarkets you find prices far below it is obviously counterfeits or frauds of another nature. Important is the reading of the label that must include the words: Extra virgin olive oil and must indicate well the brand, production process, place of production, product characteristics, product name, sales description, nominal volume and expiry date within which consume.
It is absolutely forbidden for an extra virgin olive oil to mix oils or mixtures of oils of other origin. Other oils with different inscriptions are obtained with non-direct procedures of pressing the olives to the conditions described above.
To improve the identification of an extra-virgin olive oil, the PDO and PGI names may contribute. Only one phase of the production process is necessary to obtain the PGI name, while for the PDO the link with the territory concerns the whole production process. As for the PDO names, the PGI producers must also comply with the strict rules contained in the regulations, the observance of which is guaranteed by an independent control body.
The extra virgin quality has an acidity level between 0.4 and 0.5% and 0.7% to 0.8%, in fact a lower percentage will flatten the organoleptic characteristics, superior would approach too close to the maximum limit. Even today there is no analytical method for the classification of virgin olive oil according to Italian law. The method to which all olive growers adhere is the chemical analysis, which provides the percentage of free acids, the degree of rancidity and other parameters.
In terms of the law, to give a judgment on taste, the only method is that of an organoleptic examination. The latter is based on the reaction that the sensory organs of man undergo when they are challenged by an oil sample.