The truth about Olive oil: a guide to purchasing Olive oil

The truth about Olive oil: a guide to purchasing Olive oil

We have all heard the fabulous benefits of extra-virgin olive oil but purchasing this in Sri-Lanka can be a tedious mission –  it is often inconsistent and also quite costly (due to import taxes). In addition to this, there have been numerous global scandals over the last few years about the purity of ‘Extra-virgin Olive oil’ as most of the olive oils in the market have been mixed with seed oils.

How to Purchase Authentic Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

In order to become more ‘Olive oil-savvy’, it will help you to understand the different types of olive-based oil available: extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, olive oil, pure olive oil, light olive oil, and Olive-pomace.
Extra virgin olive oil
Extra virgin is the highest quality and most expensive olive oil. It should not smell moldy or fermented.
Olive oil
Anything with the words ‘pure’, ‘light’ or simply, ‘olive oil’ are those which have been refined at some point.  Refining is a complex process that involves the use of acids, alkalis, steam and other deodorising agents. This refining process removes the aroma ad flavour out of the olive including its natural antioxidant properties.
Pomace olive oil
When you see this type of oil, turn the other way and run! This product is normally refined with dangerous chemical solvents such as hexane and does not contain any health benefits. If you aim to purchase olive oil for its health benefits, then pomace oil is one to aboid.
How do I choose the right type of olive oil?
  1. Look at the best before dates on the bottle – unlike wine, oil does not improve with age so the newer, the better.
  2. Look for olive oil that is in a dark glass bottle. Light speeds up the deterioration process.
  3. Take note of the location of the oil. If it is placed on an isle with high levels of natural sunlight or is excessively hot, it might be best to shop for your oil somewhere else.
  4. Sometimes, the quality of oil is indicated when the location of production and name of producer are indicated. Look for the D.O.P. seal (protected designation of origin) on European oils. The less mixed, the better.
  5. Always consider your individual need for consumption before you purchase larger quantities of olive oil.  If you only use it infrequently, then don’t purchase anything more than a litre.

Additional Resources to Help You Learn about Purchasing Extra Virgin Olive Oil

“Extra Virgin Olive Oil Frequently Asked Questions,” Richard Gawel.

“Tom’s Supermarket Picks: quality oils at good prices,” Tom Mueller, Truth in Olive Oil.

“How to tell if your olive oil is the real thing,” Jon Henley, Life and style, The Guardian, 1/4/2012.

“Extra Virgin Olive Oil Fraud: A Guide to Purchasing Olive Oil”