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A Guide to the Olive Oil Grading System

Many people use olive oil for cooking and to make salad dressings. Others use it as a beauty treatment for their hair. It is even use as a fuel in oil lamps. It’s a multipurpose oil with a lot of nutrients. Consumers are not aware there are different grades of olive oil. Therefore, it is very important to know the grading system of olive oil, so that you as the consumer can reap the many benefits of this product.

One of the best known facts about olive oil is that it contains mono-saturated fats. These fats help control cholesterol levels for you and they help to make your heart stronger.

The extraction method is a very important part of the oil and this is how the quality of the product is determined.

There is a traditional method called “pressing”. This is done by crushing the olives with stones and then pressing the pulp to get the oil. This is known as virgin oil. Another method is called “refining”. This method of extraction uses chemicals to extract the oil. It does improve the taste; however, it is of poorer quality.

This is the way the USDA Olive Oil grade system determines the grades of olive oil. This grading system has been effective since October 24th, 2010.

*U.S. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
This olive oil is the purest form of oil. It is also the most expensive. It is golden green in color, and is used only for salad dressing. It has zero defects.

* U.S. Virgin Olive Oil
This oil is made from slightly more ripe olives. Taste of this oil is blander due to neutralization. The ideal use for this oil is frying. It is lighter in color.

* U.S. Lamp-ante Olive Oil
This oil comes from bad fruit or even careless processing and is not fit for human consumption. They have poor flavor and odor. It is used for burning in oil lamps.

* U.S. Olive Oil
This oil is blended oil. It is a blend of virgin oil and refined olive oil. It resembles virgin olive oil.

* U.S. Refined olive Oil
This oil is obtained from refining virgin olive oil. This oil has no flavor or odor.

*U.S Olive Pomace Oil
This oil is made from the waste olive pulp, extracted by using solvents. The color of this oil ranges from yellow to green. It has a slight odor. It is mainly used in restaurants.

*U.S. Refined Olive Pomace Oil
This oil can be very greasy and has a bland or cooked taste. It is refined from crude pomace olive oil. It is not fit for edible purposes. It is light to dark yellow in color.

Remember, color of oil does not reflect the quality of olive oil. Quality is the method of extraction and the acidity of the oil. Knowing the grading system helps to know which olive oil products you should be using. It can be very helpful to you when reading labels on olive oil.