Is it really extra virgin olive oil? An Italian test evaluated 30 brands

Eleven out of the 30 extra virgin olive oils evaluated by Altroconsumo - the largest independent consumer organization in Italy - had faults relating to organoleptic qualities (aroma and taste) that would prevent it from being classified as ‘extra virgin’ olive oil.    

Altroconsumo tested 30 extra virgin olive oils and found that they all passed the chemical tests. Another factor considered was acidity, which ranges between 0.1% and 0.3% in the items studied. According to the analysis, all the oils have passed this test, with ratings ranging from good to exceptional. Moreover, pesticide residues were identified in 11 of the samples, all of which were much below the permissible limit. The taste test, on the other hand, was the most important since it was handed to a Ministry of Agricultural Policies-recognized panel, which rejected 11 samples. The oils that were rejected owing to defects underwent a second examination by an international panel accredited by the International Olive Council. Samples that failed this test were reclassified as 'virgin' from the ‘extra virgin’ category.  Those who passed the second exam were tested again by a third panel, which was also recognized by national authorities. There were four Italian organic oils in the group of oils that received an exceptional grade, as well as four additional companies that employ mixes of European oils.  Another nine kinds of oil were determined to be of high quality, one of medium quality, and the rest were degraded to ‘virgin’.    

Extra virgin olive oil is superior to virgin olive oil in terms of quality. It has a strong aroma and taste, which are lacking in virgin oil, which has a less distinct flavor. Virgin olive oil, on the other hand, is not sold alone; it is blended with refined oils to create the oil sold as plain olive oil.    

Lastly, it is worth noting that the provenance of the olives used (exclusively from Italy or European Union nations) and the usage of olives from organic agriculture have no bearing on the magazine's test findings.