When can a vegetable oil be called virgin, extra virgin or non-virgin? 03-01-2020

Let’s start to explain were the name extra virgin oil came from initially. Extra virgin olive oil is a pure product that is not subjected to heat while pressing the olives.

The name ‘extra virgin’ is due to its green colour. In the French language ‘green’ translates to “vert”. the word ‘virgin’ describes the its purest form. Any other olive oil version has been processed or refined and by a long shot will not be as healthy as extra virgin olive oil. Because of the low acid value, olive oil is protected against light, at least 2 year and utmost 3 years.  It has a strong and pure taste and is a great addition to any salad dish. It is neither mixed with other oils, refined nor filtered.

Not only extra virgin olive oil but also extra virgin sesame and avocado oils are rich in vitamins and minerals. It is an important factor in preventing heart and vascular disease. Extra virgin oils also lowers blood pressure and lowers a bad LDL cholesterol with a good anti-oxidant protection that can prevent cancer (1). Extra virgin sesame oil for example are rich in antioxidants which give it it’s long shelf life.

All the components that make olive oil so special makes children in Greece consume one spoon full per day. Extra virgin oils are less good to bake and because it’s expensive and these tasty substances would be a waste to cook or bake in.

Rules or guidelines for classifying an oil as “extra virgin”?

The purity of an extra virgin oil is mostly determined by its free fatty acids. For olive oil in particular there are clear guidelines; if the oil does not contain more than 2% free fatty acids an oil cannot be named virgin. If the oil contains less than 0,8% free fatty acids, the olive oil can be called ‘extra virgin’ olive oil. Pure vegetable oil has the most polyunsaturated fatty acids per tablespoon (1).

the guideline is different for other vegetable oils. Per example, Dutch standards indicate the oil to be ’extra virgin ‘if it is cold pressed and processed below 30ºC. As can be seen, the process of the oil is of most importance here.

There is an increasing interest for guidelines and rules regarding vegetable oils. More regulation and seminars about vegetable oils are a fact and more clarity will for sure come in the following years. For example, Primoris focuses on seminars that Currently the codex for named oils is again under revision to include more oils and better describe the product qualifications (2).

If you would like to receive our specifications or you have other questions regarding our virgin oils, do not hesitate to contact our sales department at: sales@dipasa.nl