The word “virgin” indicates that oil is extracted by pressing the olives; no heat or chemicals have been used during the process. The oil is pure and unrefined. Virgin olive oils are graded on the basis of acidity. Grading of olive oil may vary, but highest grade is Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), contains the highest levels of polyphenols and antioxidants.
With regulations and standards of International Olive Council (IOC), olive oil is classified.
Olive oils are the oils obtained from the fruit of the olive tree (Olea europaea L. )solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions, particularly 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. (IOC)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin is the highest quality olive oil classification. It should have no defects and a flavours of fresh olives.
It must be produced entirely by mechanical means without the use of any solvents, and under temperatures that will not degrade the oil.
Extra Virgin olive oil fit for consumption as it is which has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 0.8 grams per 100 grams, and the other characteristics of which correspond to those fixed for this category in the IOC standard (COI/T.15/NC No 3).
It is important to recognize that there are differences among extra virgin olive oils in terms of their quality, taste, aroma, health benefits, shelf life. What a consumer must look for is definitely extra virgin olive oil.
Virgin Olive Oil
Virgin olive oil which has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of not more than 2 grams per 100 grams and the other characteristics of which correspond to those fixed for this category in the IOC standard.
It didn’t undergo any of the industrial processes as same as extra virgin olive oil.
Refined Olive Oil
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 and its other characteristics correspond to those fixed for this category in the IOC standard. This designation may only be sold direct to the consumer if permitted in the country of retail sale.