The physical, chemical and organoleptic (sensory) properties of the eight different olive oil categories, maximum levels and the appropriate analysis processes are regulated by Regulation (EEC) No. 2568/1991.
Odour and Flavour Enhancing Properties of Olive Oil
No other oil has such a multitude of different odours and flavours. Olive oil can be mild, but also bitter and tangy. Properties such as fruitiness, bitterness and tanginess are considered positive. The characteristic fruitiness ranges from fruit aromas (apple, various citrus fruit, almond, banana, mango, ripe or green fruit) and vegetables (artichoke, tomato, olive) to expressions such as “freshly cut grass or leaves” or various herbs and spices.
This sensory plethora has many roots and is key to determining quality. One essential factor is the type of olive, which has a considerable effect on the oil’s characteristic properties.
Additionally, area of cultivation and climate, soil quality, the olives’ condition and the degree of ripeness during harvesting and the necessary care and attention during the oil production process play a significant role.
Native olive oil extra must have a minimum level of fruitiness, according to EU Regulation and must not have any defects (such as rancid, fusty, muddy, muddy-moist or vinegary).
The Regulation also includes many requirements with regards to chemical properties (acid levels, peroxide number, composition of fatty acids, trans fats content, K values, etc.), in addition to sensory features. Both sensory and chemical parameters help in the testing of olive oil, in particular when determining whether the label “native olive oil extra” is used correctly.