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Olive Oil Definitions

Olive Oil is one of the foods of the world able to offer so mu but is probably one of the most misunderstood food ingredients on the planet!  Here we will try to explain what is fact about olive oil from a professional industry perspective.


What is “cold pressed”?

Cold pressed is a term usually used primarily for marketing purposes.  Thermal conditions, that do not lead to alteration of the oil are oils typically are extracted <27℃ however all olive oils are extracted under this temperature.


What is “first pressed”?

First pressed is when the olive paste is pressed and crushed one time.  The oil from the first extraction is the highest quality.  In Australia and New Zealand there are no “secondary extraction”.  Only oils obtained by the first press.  Producers aim to achieve first-pressed high-quality expression oils.


What is an Olive Press?


Olive Presses are a traditional process used by means of mechanical pressure where the olive paste was spread onto mats, layered and then a huge hydraulic ram would squeeze the liquid from them.  The liquid contained the oil and the water from the fruit.  So, olive oil floats on top of the water and a skimming process poured the olive oil from the water.  Traditional olive oil pressing techniques date back over 4000 years to a tomb on the island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea {1}.

See more about Traditional Olive Presses


What is Extra Virgin Olive Oil or EVOO?

Extra Virgin is the fruit juice of the olive and is mechanically extracted to be the healthiest oil due to the polyphenol levels of the product.  Extra Virgin is as diverse as wine in terms of complex flavours and can be fruity, bitter and pungent.  Typically, the higher the pungency the higher the levels of polyphenols (or antioxidants) which relates to how healthy the oil is for you.  Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a health powerhouse and is regarded as a superfood.  The benefits renowned for consuming true Extra Virgin is heart & brain health and many other health benefits that are associated with the Mediterranean diet.

Unlike wine, Extra Virgin doesn’t get better with age.  In fact, the high levels of phenols (among other chemical profiles of the oil) reduce over time.  Extra Virgin is best consumed within a year of its pressing.  So consumer your olive oil as soon as you have purchased it.

Olives are typically processed no later than 24 hours after of picking.


What is Virgin Olive Oil?

Is oil that didn’t make the grade of EVOO.  Typically, if olives have been processed too late or a defect is in the oil then it may be classed as Virgin Olive Oil (VOO).  Typically the phenol levels in this product are less than EVOO.  As an EVOO ages the parameters of the oil decline and can be a virgin grade oil if the acidity raises above 0.8%.


What is Lampante Olive Oil?

“Lampante Virgin Olive Oil”, which is virgin oil that has not made the grade for Extra Virgin, Virgin or Ordinary Virgin Olive Oil.   It is deemed not fit for human consumption without further refining to extract impurities, faults and flavour defects.   After refining, the residual oil is the underlying pure oil/fat structure of the olive and is perfectly fit for human consumption.


What is Refined Olive Oil?

Olive oil obtained from virgin olive oils by refining methods which do not lead to alterations in the initial glyceridic structure. It has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.3 grams per 100 grams and its other characteristics correspond to those fixed for this category.


What is Pomace Oil?

When the initial extraction of Extra Virgin or Virgin oils the waste cake can be sent to a refining plant to usually solvent extract (using chemicals or other physical treatments) any leftover oil.  In Europe, this grade of oil is called ‘Crude Olive-Pomace Oil’.  A further refining process is required.  There are no refining processes conducted in Australia.


What is Hydrogenated Olive Oil (or spreads)?

This oil is used to make the olive oil spreads.  Olive Oil when goes through the process of Hydrogenation turns the oil into a solid.  This process changes the fatty acid structure and sometimes trans-fats are made in the process.  Trans-fat reduces the normal functioning of your body to process good fats properly.  Trans-fats are hidden in many processed foods today (many other types of oils are also hydrogenated).


How is Olive Oil made?

Infographic courtesy All About Olive Oil website


What compounds are associated with olives?

The 676 distinct chemical compounds derived from O. europaea in the OliveNet™ database are divided into 13 main classes, namely phenols, fatty acids, aliphatic and aromatic alcohols, sterols, phospholipids, triterpenic acids, volatiles, hydrocarbons, sugars, pigments, tocopherols, amino acids and a small number of other unclassified compounds (3):



  1. 4000 years to a tomb on the island of Naxos in the Aegean Sea:
  2. International Trade Standard
  3. Olivenet a comprehensive library of compounds from Olea Europaea

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