Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A grocery stocker's inquiry


I stocked olive oil last night at Jewel and have always wondered what the classifications "virgin" or "extra virgin" meant. A quick net search reveals that these labels refer to method of production in the former and acidity in the latter.

From: http://www.oliveoilsource.com/definitions.htm


Virgin olive oils

This oil is obtained only from the olive, the fruit of the olive tree, using solely mechanical or other physical means in conditions, particularly thermal conditions, which do not alter the oil in any way. It has not undergone any treatment other than washing, decanting, centrifuging and filtering. It excludes oils obtained by the use of solvents or re-esterification methods, and those mixed with oils from other sources. It can be qualified as a natural product, and virgin olive oil can have a designation of origin when it meets the specific characteristics associated with a particular region. Virgin olive oils can have the following designations and classifications depending on their organoleptic (taste and aroma) and analytic characteristics (the degree of acidity refers to the proportion of free fatty acids, not to the taste)

Extra Virgin olive oil

Virgin olive oil which has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams (0.8%), and the other characteristics ofwhich correspond to those fixed for this category. Extra Virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries. Used on salads, added at the table to soups and stews and for dipping.

Virgin olive oil

Virgin olive oil which has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 2 grams per 100 grams (2.0%) and the other characteristics of which correspond to those fixed for this category in this standard.

Ordinary Virgin Olive Oil

Virgin olive oil which has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 3.3 grams per 100 grams and the other characteristics of which correspond to those fixed for this category in this standard. Ordinary oil may still be fine for frying or where flavor is not wanted or needed.

Also, per his doctor's recommendations, my son Jon's skin is moisturized with olive oil, extra virgin I suppose.

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