Press release 3
Oil classification and organoleptic characteristics of quality oils
Positive oil qualities
Olive oil is an essential part of the Mediterranean diet, but this term generalises all the oil varieties and processes of transforming the olives; in reality olive oil covers a range of products that differ according to their qualities and characteristics. The classification of the oil follows very strict standards and has been promoted by the European Community to safeguard the high economic value of olive oil, to prevent mixing with oils of lower commercial value (such as pomace oil or seed oil) and to try to protect the consumer from fraud and adulteration.
To establish the quality of olive oil physical-chemical analyses are carried out, which are intended to assess the true composition of the fat content and acidity and also through organoleptic assessment (panel test) that evaluates the oil on its visual, olfactory and taste characteristics. The key standards for oil chemical analysis are:
ACIDITY determines the sale category of the oil. However, it isn’t the only criterion to indicate the oil quality, as it is calculated only via chemical analysis and even ‘rectified’ oil can have a low acidity level.
PEROXIDES indicate the level of oil preservation and especially regarding the phenomenon of rancidity. The lower the number of peroxides present, the better the quality of the oil. An amount of 20 mEq. 02/Kg is the limit for commercially consumable products.
ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF QUALITY OILS
POSITIVE OIL QUALITIES
Bitter: A typical characteristic of oils made from green olives.
Harmonious: Gives a sense of a perfect balance between the fragrance and the flavour.
Sweet: Pleasant oil flavour, soft and gentle with a dense paste and continuous flavour.
Fresh: Tastes like a freshly squeezed fruit due to the subtle aromas.
Fruity: Reminiscent of fresh and healthy olives picked in a perfect state of maturity.
Intensely fruity: More prominent fragrances.
Mature fruit: Oil produced from mature olives, giving a light and sweet fragrance.
Soft: An oil that gives a pleasing, pleasant and soft feeling.
Spicy: A tingly or sharp flavour that is felt across the whole of the mucose membrane of the mouth and is a very distinctive characteristic of a quality natural product with a low acidity and that has maintained all its organoleptic and nutritional properties.
Full: Balanced oil with very low acidity.
Lively: Oil that has a strong and well defined personality and a good fruity flavour.
Olive oil is the only fat that derives from pressed fruit. Reheated or raw, extra virgin olive oil is the most strongly advised fat to include in your diet, not only because of its fragrance and flavour, but also for the combination of its nutritional properties, in particular: its acidic composition containing mainly monounsaturated fatty acids and a perfect balance of polyunsaturated fats, its vitamin E, provitamin A and antioxidant content helps maintain our health.
Fatty acids are divided into saturated and unsaturated. Olive oil contains an extremely balanced amount of unsaturated fatty acids: 73% oleic acids; 9% linoleic acid and 0.3% linolenic acid.
Olive oil contains on average 15% saturated fats.
Oleic acid is the fat which is most present in our bodies, compared to other mammals. While linoleic acid is present in the same amounts as in mother’s breast milk, which makes extra virgin olive oil very suitable for children.
There can also be polyunsaturated fatty acids in the oil, known as essential acids because humans cannot produce them and so they have to be introduced into the body through the diet.
Apart from its particular composition, we can’t leave out the presence of other biologically interesting elements, even if they are less