Legislation

The legislation for olive oil is divided into three sectors:
a) Trading Standards
b) Quality standards and
c) Labeling

 

Detailed information about laws can be found in the brochures of related Ministry of European countries and EC.

The European Regulation 2568/91 can be found online at 01991R2568-20080101-en.PDF.

The main characteristics of the olive oil being considered are:


-Acidity: the fatty acids found in a free state mainly because of hydrolysis. High acidity suggests olive oil derived under unsuitable conditions for production. For extra virgin oil, acidity must be less than 0.8%
- Number of peroxides: chemical compounds that are generated by the action of oxygen in olive oil; a high number suggests that olive oil has undergone oxidizing or other changes reducing the lifespan of the olive oil. Extra virgin olive oil must have a peroxide number less than 20.
-Waxes: chemical compound (esters) of fatty acids used as indicator for the presence of seed oil in the olive oil. They increase over time in the high-acidity disadvantaged virgin olive oils. Extra virgin olive oils must have waxes less than 250 mg/kg
-K232: ultraviolet absorption coefficient at a wavelength of 232 nm; it gives an indication of the initial stages of oxidation. Extra virgin oil must have a K232 less than 2.5
-K270: ultraviolet absorption coefficient at a wavelength of 270 nm; it gives an indication of advanced stages of oxidation and the possible alteration of olive oil. Extra virgin oil must have a K270 less than 0,220
-DECN42: Difference of theoretical and experimental levels of triglycerides with an equivalent number of carbon atoms 42. It gives an indication of presence of seed oils. Extra virgin oil must have a DECN42 less than 0.2
-DK: mathematical relation calculating the ultraviolet absorption coefficients and indication of potential adulteration with vegetable oils. Extra virgin oil must have a DK less than 0.010

 

Organoleptic test: it is a test for taste, according to which a team of qualified and certified tasters rate, depending on their perception, the positive properties of olive oil. Positive properties are the fruity sensation when you smell it and the bitter and spicy taste indicating unripe olives picked at the beginning of the olive picking period.
The higher the score, the greater the intensity of these traits and the tastier the olive oil.
Furthermore there is monitoring for negative characteristics as well, such as tango, dregs, moistened, mild, earthy, vinegary etc. A positive rating of negative features is a defect for the olive oil.

For the extra virgin olive oil they check the median value of fruitiness which must be greater than zero and the median value of defect should be zero.

It is worth mentioning that the usual median value of fruitiness for greek olive oils varies between 3.50 and 6 which rarely appears.

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