The Olive Oil Story

There was some discussion about Olive Oil for soapmaking in our class this weekend.  I thought I would go straight to the horse’s mouth so to speak when I post this.  I checked out the USDA’s website for the grade descriptions and this is what they say.

There are 3 types of Olive Oil:  Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil and  Olive-Pomace Oil –

Olive oil is the oil obtained solely from the fruit of the olive tree(Olea europaea L.), to the exclusion of oils obtained using solvents or re-esterification processes and of any mixture with oils of other kinds and shall meet the minimum requirements of Table I, found in §52.1539 of these grade standards.” 

Virgin olive oils are the oils obtained from the fruit of the olive tree solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions, including thermal conditions, that do not lead to
alterations in the oil, and which have not undergone any treatment
other than washing, decantation, centrifugation, and filtration and
shall meet the minimum requirements of Table I, found in
§52.1539 of these grade standards. No additives of any kind are

Olive-pomace oil is the oil obtained by treating olive pomace (the
product remaining after the mechanical extraction of olive oil) with
solvents or other physical treatments, to the exclusion of oils
obtained by synthetic processes and mixture with oils of other
kinds and shall meet the minimum requirements of Table I, found in
§52.1539 of these grade standards. Alpha-tocopherol is permitted
to restore natural tocopherol lost in the refining process for refined
olive pomace and olive-pomace oil. Maximum level: 200 mg/kg of
total alpha-tocopherol is permitted in the final product. “

The New Yorker posted about “The Olive Oil’s Darker Side” In Feb 2012

Tom Mueller has done some extensive research on how corrupt this industry really is in his book called “Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil

The Truth In Olive Oil Website:

A Buyers Guide in the US for Olive Oil

What’s your take on it?  What do you think of grocery store olive oil/no brand name? Is it really olive oil at all?

7 thoughts on “The Olive Oil Story

  1. I live in an Olive Oil area and have seen the process at various mills. I know the families who own 2 of the mills. In the end, I use Organic Extra-Virgen Olive Oil, which is wonderful. I suppose it is different when you know where it comes from, when the mill bottles its own and you purchase directly from the mill. I know that the simplest thing for many of the mills is to sell all their production to Italy. Then the Big Producers in Italy, throw it all in together and sell it internationally. If you are ever in the area, I would take you on a tour of one of the local mills. xo Jen


  2. Thank you for posting Jennifer, You are so fortunate to be living near the Olive Oil Mills! Here in the states especially the deep south, having access would be such a treat! I can only hope that the Olive Growers of Georgia increase and continue making Olive Oil. Maybe one day I can look forward to making soap with Georgia Grown Olive Oil.


  3. I prefer Spanish Extra Virgin Olive Oil or even just the regular Spanish Olive Oil. It is less costly than the Italian just because they spend less on Marketing and are generally less known. They ALSO sell to Italy!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s