Olive Oil Categories
There are different classifications of olive oil. Here is a brief explanation of where Super Premium EVOOs fit amongst the most common grocery store olive oils.
Super Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a new category of Extra Virgin Olive Oils that have been tested by an independent food laboratory (the independent food laboratory our distributor uses is in Austria). They must pass strict quality chemical analysis, and have low acidity levels (Prairie Oils selects Super Premium EVOOs that typically have acidity levels of around only .2%). The analysis must also verify that the EVOOs have never been cut with any other oils or heated or refined in any way. Then they test for the exact health components that make up Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Each oil is also tasted by a professional olive oil taste tester—yes, there is such a job—who provides a passing grade based on criteria of bitterness, fruitiness, creaminess, and more. If any of our distributor's chosen EVOOs do not pass any one part of this testing process, they are rejected.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. Extra Virgin Olive Oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries.
Virgin Olive Oil is produced by the use of physical means and no chemical treatment, has an acidity less than 2%, and is judged to have a good taste.
Pure Olive Oil is usually a blend of refined and virgin production standards of olive oil.
Olive Oil is usually a blend of refined and virgin production standards of oil, of no more than 1.5% acidity, and lacks a strong flavor.
Refined Olive Oil is the 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 (0.3%) and its other characteristics correspond to those fixed for this category in this standard. This is obtained by refining virgin olive oils which have a high acidity level and/or organoleptic defects which are eliminated after refining.
Note that no solvents have been used to extract the oil but it has been refined with the use of charcoal and other chemical and physical filters. Over 50% of the oil produced in the Mediterranean area is of such poor quality that it must be refined to produce an edible product.