Olive Oil Origin & Production
Olive oil comes from the juice of the olive fruit. Olive trees were originally cultivated in the Mediterranean region thousands of years ago and today are grown around the world. About 95% of olive oil continues to be produced in the Mediterranean region, including Europe and North Africa.
Understanding the basics of olive oil production can help to clarify the distinctions of the grades. Virtually all olive oil produced today is graded according to the guidelines maintained by the IOC in its trade standard. This standard defines grades of olive oil through two primary measurements –
- Chemistry Analysis – to rate quality level and confirm purity
- Organoleptic Analysis – to rate positive and negative sensory attributes (aromas and tastes)
Our olive oil grade comparison chart gives a high-level description of the main chemistry and organoleptic differences between the grades commonly sold in North America.
One major difference in olive oil production compared to seed oils is that olive oil production can be completed from start to finish using only mechanical processes, without the aid of chemicals. In fact, the IOC definition for virgin olive oils specifically states no added heat or chemicals can be used in production.