Olive Oil Categories
Extra virgin olive oil is the highest grade of virgin oil derived by cold mechanical extraction without use of solvents or refining methods. It contains no more than 0.8% free acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste, having some fruitiness and no defined sensory defects. Extra virgin olive oil accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries; the percentage is far higher in the Mediterranean countries (Greece: 80%, Italy: 65%, Spain 50%).
Virgin olive oil is a lesser grade of virgin oil, with free acidity of up to 1.5%, and is judged to have a good taste, but may include some sensory defects.
Refined olive oil is virgin oil that has been refined using charcoal and other chemical and physical filters, methods which do not alter the 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. It is obtained by refining virgin oils to eliminate high acidity or organoleptic defects. Oils labeled as Pure olive oil or Olive oil are primarily refined olive oil, with a small addition of virgin for taste.
Olive pomace oil is refined pomace olive oil, often blended with some virgin oil. It is fit for consumption, but may not be described simply as olive oil. It has a more neutral flavor than pure or virgin olive oil, making it unfashionable among connoisseurs; however, it has the same fat composition as regular olive oil, giving it the same health benefits. It also has a high smoke point, and thus is widely used in restaurants as well as home cooking in some countries.