As producers of extra virgin olive oil, as part of our marketing as an industry, it is convenient to denigrate refined olive oils which are sold as ‘extra light’ and when blended with evoo as ‘pure’ olive oil.

Refining plays an important part in any olive industry as it removes lampante olive oil from the market. Lampante olive oil is the classification for oils which have high free fatty acid or peroxide levels or have organoleptic faults such as rancidity. Apart from soap making there is no other practical way of stopping this oil from being sold.

It is important to note that during refining most of the insaponifiable fraction is removed along with the free fatty acids. However, the saponifiable fraction is relatively unchanged. So refined olive oil still has many of the health attributes discussed above relating to the monounsaturated fatty acids and sterols.

As such it is still better than the other vegetable oils, many of which are solvent extracted and all of which are refined.

In our promotion we should seriously consider promoting all olive oil, then promoting extra virgin olive oil as the best because of the retention of the health and flavour benefits of the insaponifiable fraction.