Olives have been cultivated for around 7000 years and olive oil has a long history documenting its beneficial properties.

Scientific studies have proved that olive oil is beneficial for health in all sorts of ways if it is top grade and fresh.

However research has also discovered that 99% of the nutrients in good olive oil are missing from many commercially produced oils. And olive oil has historically been one of the most adulterated agricultural products in the EU.

What's in a name

Extra Virgin

Olive Oil

From top quality olives picked fresh from the tree and milled within 24 hours. With a low content of oleic acid (up to .8% volume for 100ml) but also with excellent taste and aroma - without any defect.

Virgin

Olive Oil

From olives picked fresh from the tree, but of second quality, with an oleic acid count of over 0.8% and noticeable defects in taste and smell.

Pure

Olive Oil

From very low quality olives, including windfalls, with an oleic acid count above 2%. Classed as unfit for human consumption until pasteurized at a high temperature.

Refined

Olive Oil

Also known as ‘pomace oil’ and indicated by the plain description ‘olive oil’ in food products. Extracted with chemicals from the detritus left after milling the olives - skins, pips, stalks etc.

Never buy a bottle of olive oil that doesn’t show the month and the year of harvest: ‘best before end’ only indicates a period of time after bottling the oil. It could be years old already.

Olive oil also has a long history documenting seriously nefarious practices in its production, processing and promotion to the public.

Read all about it in Tom Mueller’s book - ‘Extra Virginity’, published by Atlantic Press. Alternatively take a look at the following articles for more information:

Slippery Business - the trade in adulterated olive oil

Most Extra Virgin Olive Oil is not Virgin at All

Where the olives start: blossom in spring