Weather of Arabia - With the approach of the olive pressing season, and the excesses and misleading operations accompanying this season for citizens when selling olive oil, we convey to you some awareness guidelines from the Food and Drug Administration to spare citizens from buying adulterated or low-quality olive oil, as some traders cheat In this product to achieve an additional profit, due to its high price due to its being a fruit oil, and the high cost of producing and extracting it, while the rest of the vegetable oils are seed oils and the cost of production and extraction is less than that of olive oil.
How is olive oil adulterated?
Fraud operations in olive oil are carried out in several ways, namely:
- Mixing olive oil with vegetable oils, old poor quality olive oil, or non-vegetable oils and materials.
- Putting a quantity of olive leaves or some herbs deliberately to give the oil a green color.
- Adding prohibited dyes or flavors, some of which may negatively affect the health of the consumer.
- Mixing oil of different origin, such as selling Tunisian oil as Jordanian oil.
Given the diversity of cheating methods, there is no single test that reveals the quality of the oil, which makes it difficult for the citizen to purchase. In order to discover all cases of fraud, a chemical analysis must be carried out to estimate the percentage of ingredients in it, in addition to a sensory evaluation of the oil through certified teams for this purpose.
It is possible to resort to competent authorities to conduct the necessary laboratory analyzes to ensure the safety of the oil, such as the National Center for Agricultural Research, which does the analysis free of charge.
What is virgin olive oil?
Olive oil is described as virgin oil , as it is the only vegetable oil that does not undergo a refining process. All the non-fatty compounds in it are beneficial to humans, prevent diseases and have many health benefits.
Given that olive oil is virgin and unrefined oil, any bad treatment during harvesting, transportation, storage, oil extraction, storage and preservation will lead to negative sensory qualities in it.
Sensory evaluation of virgin olive oil
There are both positive and negative organoleptic qualities in internationally approved virgin olive oil, which are determined by the assessors when tasting the samples.
The positive sensory qualities of olive oil are the ones that are supposed to be present in it if the olive fruits are harvested and treated and the resulting oil is treated in a proper manner. As for the negative sensory attributes, it is the ones that may exist in it as a result of wrong practices during dealing with the fruits and the resulting oil.
The following is a description of some positive sensory qualities (which are assumed to be present) and negative sensory qualities (which are likely to be present) in olive oil and the reasons for the appearance of these characteristics:
- Fruity: It is one of the positive characteristics of the oil extracted from fresh, healthy, ripe or immature olives, and is distinguished by the sense of smell.
- Light bitterness: It is a mild bitter taste that is felt at the back of the tongue when tasting a sample of the oil according to certain conditions.
- Stinging: It is the feeling of biting or constriction in the throat and tongue, and this characteristic is characteristic of olive oil extracted from olive fruits at the beginning of the season, or from olives that are not fully ripe.
There are many negative qualities that may be found in virgin olive oil that negatively affect its classification. These defects appear as a result of some practices in picking, pressing and storing, such as:
- Wash olive fruits in unclean water.
- Transporting with plastic sacks is the worst, followed by burlap sacks, and it is better to transport the fruits in baskets with holes and good ventilation and not cause pressure and high temperature of the olives.
- Not cleaning the press well.
- Delaying pressing, which leads to fermentation of the fruits and the production of poor quality oil.
- Not cold extraction, so that the temperature of the olive paste during extraction does not exceed 30 degrees Celsius.
By avoiding the above, a high quality extra virgin olive oil can be produced.
Among the negative qualities that may be present in olive oil:
- Mould taste: It is the characteristic resulting from anaerobic fermentation as a result of keeping olives in bags stacked on top of each other before extracting the oil from it, or as a result of the oil coming into contact during storage with the sediment remaining at the bottom of the packages as a result of not filtering (filtering) the oil.
- The taste of dampness: It is caused by storing olives in a humid atmosphere for several days, which doubles the numbers of yeasts and molds in the olives, and the feeling of it is close to the feeling that accompanies chewing samples of old nuts that have been poorly preserved.
- The taste of vinegar: It is caused by the formation of acetic acid, ethanol, and ethyl acetate in large quantities during the fermentation of olives before extracting the oil from it.
- Metallic taste: It is the result of the oil coming into contact with metal surfaces for a long time during the oil extraction process in the mill, and sometimes it results from keeping the oil in uncoated metal containers.
- The rancid taste: It is the worst negative sensory characteristic, caused by the oxidation of the oil, and it is sensed by smell or taste, or both, where an odor similar to the smell of newly painted surfaces appears.
- Earthy taste: It is the negative sensory characteristic that may exist in olive oil extracted from olive fruits collected directly from the ground, and it was in direct contact with dirt and mud, and was not washed in the proper way.
- Zibar water flavor: It is the flavor that may result from contacting olive oil with Zibar water for a long time (it is the water resulting from washing olives and the liquid resulting from pressing).
- The salty taste: It arises as a result of wrong practices carried out by some farmers for the purpose of prolonging the preservation period of olive fruits before pressing them and extracting the oil from them as salting the fruits of olive oil or placing them in a saline medium.
- Cucumber flavor: It is a flavor that appears in olive oil when it is kept tightly packed and for very long periods, especially when it is packed in tin containers.
Tips when buying olive oil
- Not to purchase through advertisements whose source is unknown, or from unknown places . Some citizens may resort to buying directly from mills to avoid cheating, but some mixing operations, the most dangerous of them, take place in some mills. Purchasing from these places does not guarantee the quality of the oil even if it is filled in front of us, so citizens must buy from a reliable source.
- That the purchase be at the price that corresponds to the market price , to avoid being deceived or defrauded.
- not relying on color when buying ; Since the color is not considered a measure of quality in olive oil, the green color does not mean that the oil is good. For example, if the fruits were picked early or mixed with leaves or herbs, the color of the oil would be closer to green due to the concentration of chlorophyll pigment in it.
- It is preferable to buy packages bearing labels indicating the name of the mill, its address and the date of the era.
- When purchasing large quantities or contracting for marketing, it is advisable to take more than one sample and examine it in the specialized laboratories to ensure its quality.
- It is preferable to use sheet metal packages with coated from the inside instead of plastic packages.
- It is possible that there is olive oil in the market that has not been adulterated or mixed, but it is not suitable for human consumption because it decomposes due to the wrong storage and handling processes. It is always recommended to keep the oil away from its three enemies: moisture, heat, and light. Therefore, the oil should be stored in opaque containers, at a temperature between 15-18 degrees Celsius.
- Pay attention to the misleading statements that may be mentioned on the labels affixed to the packages, such as: “100% pure oil” or “refined olive oil.” These statements do not mean that the oil is virgin olive oil, as olive oil is classified into four categories:
- Extra virgin olive oil: It is fit for human consumption, and of high quality.
- Virgin olive oil: It is suitable for human consumption, but with a lower quality than the first category.
- Ordinary virgin olive oil: It is an oil suitable for human consumption, but with a low quality.
- Extra virgin olive oil: This is considered unfit for human consumption, and it can be used in non-food industries.
The oil that is pressed in Jordan’s mills is virgin olive oil, i.e. first pressing, not olive oil, refined olive oil, or olive-pomace oil.