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How Products Were Selected:

Products tested represent those commonly sold and/or available nationally in the U.S. purchased products on the open market through retail stores, on-line retailers, and direct sales companies. Products were not accepted directly from manufacturers.

Testing Methods:

  1. Sensory (organoleptic) assessment by an olive oil tasting expert: Sensory analysis of positive attributes and negative attributes (defects) are given as a numerical rating from 0 to 10 (USDA and International Olive Council (IOC) grading sytem). A descriptive assessment is also given in language commonly used by the olive oil tasting community.
  2. Free acidity: By titration expressed as oleic acid (AOCS).
  3. UV absorbance: Expressed as K (extinction coefficient) for two wave lengths, 232nm and 270 nm. K264-K274 nm to calculate delta K (ΔK) (AOCS).
  4. Total phenols: Gallic acid equivalents by UV (AOAC).
  5. Fatty acid composition: Fatty acid composition as determined by gas chromatography (AOCS).
  6. Peroxide value: A measure of olive oil oxidation measured as milliequivalents of active oxygen per kg of oil by titration (AOCS).
Any product that did not initially Pass (below) a non-sensory test was sent to another independent laboratory to repeat testing for the criterion on which it did not pass.

Identities of products were not disclosed to laboratories or tasters performing the testing. may modify or use other appropriate test methods if necessary to test special product formulations.

Passing Score:*

To be "Approved", a product had to meet the following requirements:
  1. Have a sensory assessment of no negative attributes (negative attribute = 0) and a descriptive rating qualifying it as Extra Virgin.
  2. Have a Free acidity value of <0.8% (IOC, USDA).
  3. Have the following UV absorbance values: UV absorbance at 232nm < 2.50, UV absorbance at 270nm < 0.22, Delta <0.01 (USDA).
  4. Contain phenolic compounds: Amount of total phenolic compounds will be reported.
  5. Percent individual fatty acids determined by gas chromatography (USDA, IOC):
    • Myristic acid (C14:0) ≤0.05
    • Palmitic acid (C16:0) 7.5 - 20.0
    • Palmitoleic acid (C16:1) 0.3 - 3.5
    • Heptadecanoic acid (C17:0) ≤0.3
    • Heptadecanoic acid (cis C17:1) ≤0.3
    • Stearic acid (C18:0) 0.5 - 5.0
    • Oleic acid (C18:1) 55.0 - 83.0
    • Linoleic acid (C18:2) 3.5 - 21.0
    • Linolenic acid (C18:3) ≤1.0
    • Arachidic acid (C20:0) ≤0.6
    • Gadoleic acid (eicosenoic) (C20:1) ≤0.4
    • Behenic acid (C22:0) ≤0.2
  6. Less than or equal to 20 milliequivalents peroxide oxygen per kg oil (USDA).
  7. Be in compliance with labeling requirements as extra virgin olive oil (USDA, IOC).
* Passing scores allow for specific margins of technical error associated with each analysis. reserves the right to disqualify a product at any time from passing its testing if it considers such product to display unacceptable variation in quality, present a safety risk or to provide misleading or inaccurate information in its labeling.

NOTE:The results of this Review cannot represent whether or not a product meets USDA or International Olive Council standards for extra virgin olive oil, as those standards require additional chemical analyses and sensory analysis conducted by a panel of 8 to 12 testers, rather than a single tester.

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