Testing and Verification of Olive Oil Quality

Testing and Verification of Olive Oil Quality

The quality of olive oil is principally tested and verified through sensory analysis and chemical examination. These two procedures provide a comprehensive understanding of the oil’s quality.

Sensory Analysis

  • Olive oil tasters: Specialized olive oil tasters evaluate the oil’s flavour and aroma to establish its category.
  • Tasting process: Tasters sip a small quantity of oil and breathe out through the nose to examine its characteristics.
  • Grading: Based on the intensity of defects and fruity flavour, an oil is categorized as extra virgin, virgin or lampante.

Chemical Testing

  • Acidity levels: Measuring the level of free fatty acids, determined as a percentage, provides an indication of the oil’s quality.
  • Peroxide value: This test determines the oil’s level of oxidation; a lower number indicates better quality.
  • Rancidity: Aldehydes and ketones are tested to assess the extent of the oil’s rancidity.

Verification Standards

Quality of olive oil is verified in compliance with International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) standards. These institutions set limits for chemical and sensory parameters.

Labelling and Traceability

  • Labelling: The label on a bottle of olive oil shows important information, including origin, variety and best-before date.
  • Traceability: This supports the verification of the oil’s origin, production, and processing stages, ensuring its quality and authenticity.
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