Buying Olive Oil
One thing that is never an issue in the olive oil category is the availability of a range of oils to choose from. Don't get overwhelmed! Instead, follow these simple tips to ensure you purchase a quality olive oil that's right for your needs.
- Know your intended use to first narrow down which type best fits your need.
- Only purchase bottle sizes that you will use within 8 – 10 weeks of opening.
- Learn to read and interpret the label. Olive oil from quality sources will contain key pieces of information on the package, including:
- The distributing or packaging company's name and contact information.
- Ingredient statement - This is quite simple for all types of olive oil. Make sure nothing in the ingredient statement contradicts what the front label says about the type of olive oil.
- Country of origin statement - This is required by federal labeling laws, and is typically found on the back label near the nutrition facts and ingredient statement. Often, blending is done in order to reach a specific flavor profile, so don't be alarmed if more than one country is listed here.
- Best-by date - Look for one that is as far out as possible, although with proper handling olive oil can keep in a sealed package for up to two years.
- Lot code - Lot codes are used in the event of a recall and identify the place, date and time that the product was bottled.
- Global quality or authenticity seals - USDA Quality Monitoring Program, USDA Grade Certification, NAOOA Quality Seal, Origin/Specialty Seals: PDO (Protected Designation of Origin), PGI (Protected Geographical Indication, USDA Organic
- Award seals can be tricky – on EVOO, the award would technically only apply to the specific batch or harvest year when the award was given. We've also come across some award graphics that are simply made up to decorate a label!
- Avoid packages that show signs of improper handling or storage. This could include:
- Dust on the bottle.
- Broken or loose seal on the cap.
- Evidence of oil drips or leaks.
- Orange tint to the oil – this would indicate over-exposure to fluorescent lighting and/or heat has damage the oil.