The quality criteria qusually applied to virgin olive oil are defined by:
– Chemical factors like: degree of acidity, state of oxidation, detection of anomalous traces, etc.
– Sensorial analyses of its organoleptic qualities (scent, flavour, texture), describing its positive and negative attributes.
It is important to note that acidity does not refer to what we usually mean by ‘acidic’. As a chemical parameter, acidity refers to the percentage of free fatty acids contained in the oil expressed in oleic acid. The degree of acidity is a marker to categorise the oil but bears no relationship to its flavour.
Olive oils are classified into the following categories:
– Extra virgin olive oil, whose flavour and scent are above reproach, its organoleptic score is 6.5 and its acidity is less than or equal to 1º.
– Virgin olive oil, whose flavour and scent are above reproach; its organoleptic score is higher than 5.5 and its acidity is less than or equal to 2º.
– Ordinary olive oil, whose organoleptic score is no higher than 3.5; its acidity is equal to or less than 3.3º.