There are many different brands of olive oil on the market today. With so many options, it’s difficult to know which particular kind of olive oil is the best one to buy, especially when they are all labeled similarly. The grade of olive oil is not determined by the olive, but by the amount of defects within the oil. The highest grade of olive oil is Extra Virgin. By definition extra virgin olive oil must be free from defects (along with passing a large panel of chemical tests). Virgin olive oil is the 2nd highest grade and does contain some minor defects within the oil. It has been tested and proven that most of the olive oil currently sold in this country labeled as “extra virgin” is in fact not. By far the majority of olive oil labeled “extra virgin” on store shelves are defective and thus not extra virgin. A few years ago, the regulations and definitions of olive oil were updated in the federal government to better reflect the current state of the industry. California even instituted a new law for its producers with even stricter standards. One of the results of the updated regulations has been food fraud lawsuits being filed against companies selling these mislabeled products. It is very important to educate yourself and be aware of what you are buying.
Written by Dean Wilkinson, our Olive Oil Expert