There was some discussion about Olive Oil for soapmaking in our class this weekend. I thought I would go straight to the horse's mouth so to speak when I post this. I checked out the USDA's website for the grade descriptions and this is what they say.
There are 3 types of Olive Oil: Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil and Olive-Pomace Oil -
"Olive oil is the oil obtained solely from the fruit of the olive tree(Olea europaea L.), to the exclusion of oils obtained using solvents or re-esterification processes and of any mixture with oils of other kinds and shall meet the minimum requirements of Table I, found in §52.1539 of these grade standards."
"Virgin olive oils are the oils obtained from the fruit of the olive tree solely by mechanical or other physical means under conditions, including thermal conditions, that do not lead to
alterations in the oil, and which have not undergone any treatment
other than washing, decantation, centrifugation, and filtration and
shall meet the minimum requirements of Table I, found in
§52.1539 of these grade standards. No additives of any kind are
"Olive-pomace oil is the oil obtained by treating olive pomace (the
product remaining after the mechanical extraction of olive oil) with
solvents or other physical treatments, to the exclusion of oils
obtained by synthetic processes and mixture with oils of other
kinds and shall meet the minimum requirements of Table I, found in
§52.1539 of these grade standards. Alpha-tocopherol is permitted
to restore natural tocopherol lost in the refining process for refined
olive pomace and olive-pomace oil. Maximum level: 200 mg/kg of
total alpha-tocopherol is permitted in the final product. "
The New Yorker posted about "The Olive Oil's Darker Side" In Feb 2012 http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/books/2012/02/the-exchange-tom-mueller.html
Tom Mueller has done some extensive research on how corrupt this industry really is in his book called "Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil"
The Truth In Olive Oil Website: http://www.truthinoliveoil.com/
A Buyers Guide in the US for Olive Oil http://www.truthinoliveoil.com/great-oil/how-to-buy-great-olive-oil/
What's your take on it? What do you think of grocery store olive oil/no brand name? Is it really olive oil at all?