olives are subject to the same agricultural poisons that pollute other crops of
otherwise beneficial foods. Harmful chemicals can compromise the quality of
olive oil at both the growing and processing end, so that while you get enthused
about the olive’s health benefits, you also must be prudent regarding your
choice of olive oils.
you are, using a premium olive oil to improve your health, but you may be
ingesting hexane, caustic soda, and naphthaleneacetic acid, commonly used in
olive oil production. Organic olive oil, with purity assured from tree
cultivation through to bottling, is the obvious solution.
olive tree cultivation in Europe tends to involve synthetic chemicals and
nitrogen fertilizers “enrich” the fields, copper sprays spur plant growth,
herbicides kill unwanted grasses and weeds, and insecticides dispense with
harmful insects. Naphthaleneacetic acid is used to thin the crop on the trees in
order to make the remaining olives bigger. Crop yields may increase, but these
practices deplete the soil, pollute the local ecosystem, and may leave toxic
residues in the harvested olives.
olive growers use natural substances and processes to enhance the soil’s
nutrient content and to produce olives that are not laden with chemicals.
Organic farmers mow between their olive trees to rid the orchards of weeds; and
they plant cover crops, such as clover and vetch, to attract beneficial insects
to control the undesirable ones.
are certified and controlled by (ICEA), which is one of the organic regulatory
agencies in Italy, designed from
European Community (EC), to control and certificate organic food based on EC
ensure that organic specifications have been fulfilled, look for the logo of one
of these organizations or the words “From Organic Farming, in agreement to EC
Reg. 2092/91” (Da Agricoltura Biologica in ottemperanza al Reg. CE 2092/91) on
the bottle or tin of olive oil.
it comes to processing olives into oil, the olives must be processed within two
days of harvesting to get the freshest oil. On a technical level, in most cases,
olives are washed, crushed, and milled by stainless steel equipment (traditionally
a mill stone was used), then filtered to remove sediments.
crucial difference between conventional and organic oil processing and the
presence of unhealthy chemicals pertains to how the oil processing machinery is
Conventional processors typically use strong chemicals to clean the presses and
traces of these can make their way into the oil. In contrast, organic processors
use only steam or hot water to clean their equipment.
grades of olive oil, those designated “refined” (see below), use harsh
chemicals such as caustic soda or hexane, which is a potential carcinogen (according
to the Environmental Protection Agency), to extract the remaining oil from the
olives in a second or third pressing. These refined oils are often mixed with virgin oil to make them palatable. Consumers should be wary of
any olive oils that are not virgin grade: they may contain inferior oil and
traces of the extraction solvents.
oils tend to cost more than conventional oils, but, increasingly, consumers seem
willing to pay more for quality and the health benefits. And what about the
flavor of organic olive oil? Many conventional olive growers sell off their best
olives to canneries and use only the remaining fruit to make olive oil. We use
all of our olives for making organic oil, to get a superior tasting product.
oil quality grades.
Virgin: extraction of olive oil solely by mechanical method oand containing only
of free fatty acids (free-acidity), mostly oleic; otherwise perfectly natural and
Virgin cold pressecd : as above metioned foe extra virgin olive oil
but using extraction temperature below 27°C. (see our oil features for more information).
Also mechanical-pressing oil, but slightly more acidic, between 1% and 2%.
Processed using mechanical means (pressure) only and without any added heating
which would change the oil; it contains an acidity level of 1 to 5%; often
late-season or overripe olives are used.
(or Semi-fine) Virgin: mechanical-pressed oil, up to 3.3% acidity.
Usually a blend of refined olive oil (treated with steam and chemicals) and
extra virgin, with a 3.1 to 4% acidity.
This means the oil is extracted during a second pressing using chemicals, often
lye or hexane; these oils are often blended with virgin oils for consumption and
labeled “olive oil”.
Is the olive oil obtained from olive oils that not fit for consumption as
it is, further by refining methods which do not lead to alterations in the
initial glyceridic structure, based on precipitating excess acidity and
This is the lowest-grade made from the pulp solvent extraction (chemical
extraction) with 5 to 10% virgin olive oil added for flavor;