The main factors that accelerate the qualitative degradation of extra virgin olive oil are the oxygen in the atmosphere, temperature and light. When it comes into contact with air, light and heat, oil loses both its sensory and nutritional characteristics more quickly. To preserve its organoleptic and nutritional properties for longer, oil should be kept in the dark, far away from sources of heat, in a cool place.
It is true that the feeling of a “spicy tickle in the throat” felt when tasting an extra virgin olive oil is a sign of an acidic oil?
Not at all. The acidity of an oil is a very important parameter for evaluating its quality: the lower the acidity of the oil, the better the quality is. Contrary to what many people think, the acidity of the oil cannot be perceived by simply tasting it: it is a chemical parameter which measures the percentage of fatty acids freed by the decomposition of triglycerides. Free fatty acids are odourless and flavourless. Acidity can only be measured with a chemical analysis in a laboratory. As such, the feeling of the “spicy tickle in your throat” has nothing to do with acidity: it is defined with the attribute of “spice” and is due to the presence of polyphenols, antioxidants which are very important for both the preservation of the oil and for human health. So, if the oil “tickles your throat”, it should be considered a positive thing, because it has a beneficial effect on your health, and this sensation is absolutely nothing to do with its acidity.
Should the slightly bitter and spicy taste be considered a negative feature of an extra virgin olive oil?
Absolutely not. These sensations are due to the presence of phenolic compounds, natural antioxidants which improve the preservation of the oil. These compounds also play a very important function: they protect our cells from aging and oxidative stress. In fact, they fight free radicals, which are responsible for the cellular aging process. That is why when oil is slightly bitter and spicy (and “tickles the throat”), it is deemed a positive characteristic by both professional olive oil tasters and nutritionists
Why is the indication of the geographical origin shown only on the labels of extra virgin olive oil, and not shown on the labels of other olive oils?
EU Regulation no. 182/2009 introduced, as of 1 July 2009 and across all the countries in the European Union, the requirement to state the designation of the geographical origin on the labels of all extra virgin and virgin olive oils. This regulation prohibits stating the designation of origin on olive oils and olive pomace oils. As such, the label of the olive oils produced in our factories does not show the designation of origin, because it is not permitted by law. The olive oils packaged by Olio Dante S.p.A. are obtained by blending refined olive oil and extra virgin olive oil. The refinement process is carried out at the Montesarchio (BN) plant, using lots of oil purchased from carefully-selected suppliers. The extra virgin olive oil which, when added to the refined olive oil, becomes part of our olive oils comes from traditional olive-growing areas in the European Community.
Yes. All oils (extra virgin olive oil, olive oil and seed oil) are gluten-free and can therefore be consumed by coeliacs.
No. At low temperatures (e.g. in the fridge or during winter, if the oil is kept in a cold place), the oil could solidify, either partially or completely. When the temperature drops, the oil may initially look “veiled”, then possibly forming “granules” throughout the bottle. If the temperature drops further, the oil could solidify completely inside the bottle. This is nothing to worry about. It’s a natural phenomenon: at low temperatures, the liquids solidify, as oil has a higher freezing point than water. So, at temperatures at which water is still liquid, oil may already start to solidify. When it is brought back to room temperature, the oil becomes liquid again, without any effects on its quality. To avoid solidification and, at the same time, ensure that it is stored properly, oil should be kept at a temperature between 12°C and 18°C (inclusive).
An olive oil can only be defined as “virgin” if it is obtained from the fruit of the olive tree by solely mechanical means, in conditions which do not alter the composition of the oil. To be able to maintain the definition of “virgin”, an oil cannot be subjected to chemical treatments of any kind, nor to extreme physical treatments which could modify its composition. As such, virgin olive oil is the natural juice of a fruit – namely the olive – obtained by crushing the flesh of the olive and extracting the oil contained in it by way of pressure or centrifugation. Within the category of virgin olive oils, an oil can only be defined as “extra virgin” if it also respects a series of analytical and organoleptic parameters established by law. Its free acidity, for example, cannot be higher than 0.8%, and it must be entirely free of organoleptic defects. Olive oil, on the other hand, is a blend of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil. Olive oil is said to be refined when, after its extraction from the olive itself (which is nonetheless performed via mechanical processes), it undergoes a refining treatment which consists of a series of chemical and physical technological processes which allow for substances which are unwanted or responsible for organoleptic defects to be removed from the oil. As a consequence of the refinement process, refined olive oil has a yellow colour (the green pigments of the olive having been removed) and a neutral smell and flavour. Refined olive oil is blending with virgin olive oil, being bottled under the name of “olive oil composed of refined olive oils and virgin olive oils”.
Olio Dante S.p.A. products do not contain allergens, except where the allergen itself is an ingredient of the product (e.g. peanut oil). In this case, the allergen (peanut) is mentioned in the name of the product and/or the ingredient list, and is therefore entirely recognisable by consumers. There are absolutely no traces of allergenic substances not listed on the label. This is ensured by the procedures in place to guarantee the absence of contamination between products processed in the same facility and by the analytical controls carried out at the company laboratory.
The extraction and refinement processes that seed oils undergo before being bottled is virtually the same. However, the composition of the oils is different due to the differing origins of the plants. Although they are all made up almost exclusively of fats (and so their calorie content is identical), the composition of these fats differs according to the differing origins of the plants, as well as differences to be found in the minor components, such as phytosterols and tocopherols, present in trace amounts but important from a nutritional point of view. Every oil has its own particular features, nutritionally speaking, as a result of its composition of fatty acids and minor components. Peanut oil, for example, has a very balanced fatty acid composition, with plenty of monounsaturated fatty acids. This characteristic makes it particularly resistant to the oxidation processes that can occur during cooking. This is why it is the most suitable oil for frying. Sunflower oil, meanwhile, as well as containing a high amount of Omega 6 fatty acids (linoleic acid), is naturally rich in alpha-tocopherol (vitamin E), an important natural antioxidant. Corn oil is the highest in plant sterols, which are nutritionally important as they can help to reduce the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. Soybean oil is characterised by a high content of Omega 6 and Omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, both “essential fatty acids”. However, it is the least stable at high temperatures, and consequently not particularly suitable for long cooking processes or for frying.
The characteristics of the packaging are very important for the conservation of oil, especially extra virgin olive oil. During storage, the most damaging factors for the oil are its exposure to light and heat, as well as contact with oxygen. Of the plastics, PET has one of the lowest degrees of permeability to oxygen, thereby making it suitable for use in packaging for foods which, like oil, degrade upon contact with air. The bottle’s permeability to oxygen also decreases as its thickness increases. The PET bottles used to package the oil produced by Olio Dante S.p.A. are thick enough to ensure that the oil is adequately protected from the oxygen in the air.
PET has been extensively assessed and approved for use in contact with food and drinks by food safety agencies around the world, including the FDA, Health Canada and the European Food Safety Authority.
First, because it is highly recyclable. Second, because it is very light compared to other packaging materials, such as glass or metal, so it is possible to package a far greater quantity of product using the same weight of packaging. Its lightness also reduces the environmental impact of its transportation and distribution.
There is no connection between PET and bis-phenol A. BPA is not used in the production of PET, but in the production of other plastics (polycarbonate).
Phthalates are not used as plasticisers in the production of PET bottles, as the characteristics of the polymer do not make it necessary to use them. There is therefore no risk of phthalates migrating into oil bottled in PET.