Olive oil frequently asked questions

In this two-part article, researchers from the OLEUM Project tackle some frequently asked technical questions posed by the public and researchers around olive oil, including quality, shelf life and sustainability.

Co-ordinated by Professor Tullia Gallina Toschi from the Alma Mater Studiorum, University of Bologna, OLEUM is an EU H2020-funded project which aims to guarantee olive oil quality and authenticity by empowering detection and fostering prevention of olive oil fraud. Here, in the first of a two-part article, several of its researchers answer some frequently asked questions, demystifying some common queries and misconceptions on oils.

Q: Does the colour of olive oil give an indication of its quality?

A: The colour, which can be anywhere from light golden yellow, to intense dark green, does not give an indication of the olive oil quality. The colour is a result of a number of substances (chlorophylls, carotenoids, phenols, pyropheophytines, etc) solubilised in differing amounts in the oil, which depends on an array of variables (eg, olive cultivar, harvest time, ripening index, pedoclimatic conditions, type of extraction and extraction plant, and eventual refining)…