Categories of Olive Oil
Not all olive oil is the same. Indeed, it is necessary to learn its different types, because each type has corresponding values that influence its purity and quality.

The European Union has established a classification of olive oils according to strict parameters to safeguard the high commodity value of European olive oil and prevent it from being mixed with oils of lesser commercial value, such as pomace and seeds, whilst protecting consumers from frauds and sophistications.

The classification is established and contained in regulation no. 2568/9, amended by the Commission’s Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1604 to ensure the application at the Union level of the most recent international standards established by the IOC, and it determines:

  • the physico-chemical characteristics, such as the level of acidity and the peroxide index, to establish the oxidative state of a product, the composition of fatty acids and other chemical components;
  • organoleptic (sensory) characteristics, such as fruitiness and the absence of defects (taste, color, smell, touch), which depend on various factors such as the type of olive, the soil, the climatic conditions, the date of olive harvest.
Levels and quantities of these indicators divide olive oil into the following categories:

Virgin Olive Oil

There are three different categories of virgin olive oils:

  • extra virgin olive oil, the category with the best quality. From the organoleptic point of view it has no defects and it is fruity. Its acidity level must not exceed 0.8%;
  • virgin olive oil, may have some slight sensory defects, but at a very low level. Its acidity level must not exceed 2%;
  • lampante olive oil, is a virgin olive oil of lower quality, with an acidity level higher than 2%, without fruity characteristics and substantial sensory defects. It is not intended for retail sale. It is either refined or used for industrial purposes.

The label must mention the name of the category and its specific characteristics.
Other categories of olive oil:
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  • refined olive oil is the product obtained after refining a defective virgin olive oil (i.e lampante olive oil). It is not intended for retail sale. It has a degree of acidity up to 0.3%;
  • olive oil consisting of refined olive oil and virgin olive oils, is an oil obtained by mixing refined olive oil with extra virgin and / or virgin olive oils. It has a level of acidity up to 1%;
  • crude olive pomace oil - olive pomace is the residual paste obtained after pressing the oil from the olives. The oil obtained from this paste is called crude olive pomace oil;
  • refined olive pomace oil - crude olive pomace oil can be refined and mixed with virgin olive oils. The result of the blend is called refined olive pomace oil. Its degree of acidity can reach 1%

Not all categories can be sold to consumers. Only extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, olive oil composed of refined olive oil and virgin olive oils and olive pomace oil can be purchased directly in retail stores.

Due to this rigid division into categories, consumers are able to pick among many different types of oil on the market and make a conscious choice that favors quality and matches personal tastes and needs.
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The European Commission is not responsible for any use of the information contained therein.