When we talk about extra virgin olive oil we refer to a product that has an origin protected and controlled by specific quality standards. The standards to be respected by producers are very high and labeling is also part of the obligations of those who sell a widely used food. Therefore, there are various regulations aimed at protecting the producer, who respects quality standards, on the one hand, and consumers’ right to information on the other. For this reason, the labeling must reflect the identity of the product that is placed on the market. In this way, an attempt is made to limit counterfeiting of extra virgin olive oil to the advantage of those who use it.
What information should you find on the label?
The indications you will find on extra virgin olive oil are the following:
- the sales denomination: extra virgin olive oil;
- the designation of origin: origin of the olives and where the mill is located;
- the category of oil: that is, “ superior category olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means “;
- the net quantity;
- the expiration date;
- how to store oil;
- the credentials of the sales manager;
- lot or expiry date which corresponds to 18 months from bottling;
- the nutritional properties;
- year of production.
As regards the last point, it is forbidden to report the harvest year if the packaged oil is the product of blends of oils extracted in different years.
What are the designations of origin?
The origin of the olives and the information on where they were processed are important and must be specified in full and visibly on the label. Normally the state where the olives are harvested and the state where the milling was carried out is reported. Therefore, you should not find the reference to the Region, the Provinces or the geographic area of origin.
If you find the words “Italian extra virgin olive oil” it means that the olives have been harvested and processed in Italy. If you read “of the European Union”, then harvesting and milling were done in an EU member state. It is also mandatory to report the origin of the olives if they were harvested in a country that is not part of the EU. In fact, it is possible to find extra virgin olive oils “ obtained in Italy from olives harvested in Tunisia “.