Frequently Asked Questions
Olive Oil FAQ
Q. How can I be sure that I am buying authentic olive oil?
A. You may have read reports on the internet and social media about olive oil fraud which are wildly exaggerated. While the potential for fraud always exists, in truth it is extremely rare. Don't take our word for it. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a study where they randomly collected 88 bottles of olive oil from D.C. area supermarkets and tested them. None were fake. Zero. The North American Olive Oil Association also conducts ongoing testing of olive oil in North American. Our off-the-shelf monitoring program is the largest of its kind in the United States and Canada. We purchase olive oil in supermarkets and test them against the standards set by the International Olive Council. We have monitored thousands of samples over several decades and found that more than 98% of olive oil available in North American supermarkets today is authentic. For additional assurance, you can look for olive oils that participate in our AboutOliveOil.org Quality Seal Program.
Q. What does "extra virgin" mean?
Extra virgin olive oil is produced through natural crushing of olives without heat or chemicals to maintain the natural antioxidants, polyphenols and flavors. The oil must also meet both chemical and sensory (taste and smell) standards in order to be classified as extra virgin. Watch this video to learn more about types of olive oil or learn more about olive oil standards.
Q. What is a non extra virgin olive oil?
Olive oil is sometimes labeled as pure, light tasting or classic olive oil. It is a blend of refined olive oil and extra virgin/virgin olive oil. It has many of the same health benefits of extra virgin olive oil but has a milder flavor.
Q. Does light olive oil have less calories?
All olive oils have the same calories per serving. Light or Extra Lite indicates a lighter color, aroma or flavor. Read more.
Q. Can I cook with it?
Contrary to popular belief, olive oil, including extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is ideal for all types of cooking. Studies have shown that olive oil has a smoke point that is high enough for baking, sauteing, grilling and frying. Furthermore, it has been found that smoke point is not the best indicator of a cooking oil's stability under heat.
Q. What is the difference between filtered and unfiltered extra virgin olive oil?
The olive oil extraction process will result in pulp and olive particles being present in the oil. Most olive oil is filtered to remove the sediment to prevent the oil from being cloudy and to extend shelf life. Some people prefer the taste of unfiltered olive oil. It is a matter of personal preference.
Q. What does cold-pressed mean?
Extra Virgin Olive Oils may have marketing terms such as “first press,” “cold pressed” or “cold extracted” on the labels, referring to the fact that extra virgin olive oil is produced by crushing the olives without adding any heat or using any chemicals. All extra virgin olive oil is produced this way even if the label doesn’t call it out. Learn more about olive oil terminology.
Q. How long is olive oil good for?
Unlike wine, olive oil does not get better with age. Check the best-by date when purchasing olive oil and make sure to use the oil within a few months once the bottle is opened.
Q. How is olive oil made?
Olive oil is basically the freshly pressed juice of an olive tree. Learn more about olive oil extraction, or watch a video about olive oil production.
Q. Can I reuse olive oil?
Yes, research has shown that it is safe to reuse olive oil. Read more tips here.
Q. How should I store olive oil?
Avoid heat, air and light to prolong the shelf life and maintain the quality of olive oil. Store olive oil in a dark, cool place and use the oil within a few months once opened. Read more.
Q. What are the health benefits of olive oil?
Olive oil is recognized as part of a healthy diet by leading health and nutrition experts, the American Heart Association, and the Food and Drug Administration. Numerous studies have shown olive oil to have a positive impact on cardiovascular health, diabetes and metabolic conditions, reduction in cancer rates, and other common illnesses. Read more about olive oil science.
Q. Is green olive oil better?
Color is not an indicator of olive oil quality or flavor. Quality olive oils range in color from pale yellow to dark green depending on variables like the olive variety, where it's grown, climate and harvest timing.
Q. How can I test for authentic olive oil at home?
There are no reliable home tests to detect if an olive oil has been mixed with lower quality oils. Only a laboratory can detect adulteration. Putting olive oil in the refrigerator is not a reliable test of olive oil authenticity.