The authenticity and quality of olive oils is determined on the basis of their physical, chemical and organoleptic characteristics, as set under Reg. 2568/91 (EEC), modified on 11-10-2016.
In order to ensure that the presence of these characteristics is determined uniformly, this Regulation establishes methods of chemical analysis and organoleptic evaluation. The quality of olive oil may be significantly degraded, even during the growth of the olive, because of its contact with parasites, microorganisms, humidity, oxygen, intense light, temperature, and it is determined through organoleptic evaluation (panel test) and measurement of certain physico-chemical parameters, such as acidity, peroxide value, absorbance coefficients K270/K232/delta-K, etc.
The remaining check parameters are determined in order to collect information related to the authenticity of olive oil, i.e. to detect the presence of any seed oils or other impurities (stigmastadiene, delta-ECN 42, waxes, saturated fatty acids in position 2, sterols, sterols' composition, etc.).
In brief, the quality characteristics of olive oil are divided in 2 main categories:
1. Organoleptic characteristics, determined by colour, smell, taste, thickness, clarity.
2. Physical and chemical characteristics, i.e. olive oil acidity and its content in various other substances.
Three of the main evaluation criteria are the following: