Olive Oil (2011) Standards updated and beneficial effect


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The beneficial health effects of olive oil are due to both its high content of monounsaturated fatty acids and its high content of antioxidative substances. Studies have shown that people who consumed about 2 tablespoons of virgin olive oil daily for 1 week showed less oxidation of LDL cholesterol and higher levels of antioxidant compounds, particularly phenols, in the blood.

The International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) sets standards of quality used by the major olive oil producing countries. The United States is not a member of the IOOC, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture does not legally recognize its classifications. California has set high standards for its olive oil through the California Olive Oil Council (COOC). The COOC has adopted the standards set by the International Olive Oil Council, but went one step further. The international standard for free acidity content is less than 0.8% and the COOC standard for free acidity content is less than 0.5%. If olive oil makers from California meet these standards, they can put the COOC seal of quality on their bottles.

There is a simple home test for the purity of olive oil, although it is not conclusive: refrigeration. Wikipedia says that when genuine olive oil is refrigerated, it should become thicker if not nearly solid. Blended olive oils and non-olive oils posing as olive oil will not solidify when refrigerated.