In accordance with internationally standards
The label “Extra Virgin” can only be given to oils that meet strict requirements and pass stringent tests. First and foremost, they must have undergone washing, crushing, malaxation, extraction, filtration, etc. through mechanical means only, and be free of solvents/any refining (in other words, have undergone processes which do not lead to alteration of the oil); oils whose production methods can be confirmed then undergo quantitative analysis and a blind taste test by panel. Only those of the finest quality and composition are awarded “Extra Virgin Olive Oil” status.
Quantitative analysis has many strict criteria. Some of these are: less than 0.8% free acidity, a maximum peroxide value of 20, and specific UV-ray absorption values (K232 under 2.5, K270 under .22, and Delta K under .01), to name just a few. To pass the analysis, oils must fit every requirement, no matter how small.
The taste test determines an oil’s good and bad qualities in regards to flavor and aroma. Even if an oil passes the stringent quantitative analysis stage, if it fails the taste test, it will not be awarded extra virgin status.
The IOC selects a panel leader, who in turn picks 8-12 panelists to join them in judging oils. Judging takes place in a panel room, where each panelist is given a partitioned station. At each station, there is an oil warmer, tasting glass, and other supplies necessary to conduct the blind test. Each panelist judges based on the IOC’s tasting criteria. Negative criteria, such as burnt aroma, vinegary or fermented, taste etc., are ranked; then they move on to the positives, such as fruity, bitter, salty, and overall balance. If there are no negatives, the oil passes and receives its Extra Virgin title. Of course, extra virgin is a term that can only be awarded by official bodies; both quantitative analysis and blind taste tests *3 must be passed to earn the right to be called Extra Virgin.
Here at Takao Olive Farms, we believe that making quality olive oil recognized by international standards is our highest priority. Every year, the oil we make is sent to ONAOO*2, and it is confirmed to adhere to the international standards of Extra Virgin.
The fragrance of olives only perfumes the air of our farm for two months of the year. By the end of November, oil making is finished, and then we turn our energy back to Growing olives, and a new Year on the Olive Farm begins.
*1 International Olive Council (IOC/COI)
The International Olive Council is an intergovernmental organization that oversees the regulation of olive oil and table olives. The UN founded the IOC in 1959 as the International Olive Oil Council to develop and sustain olive production. In 2006, it was renamed as the International Olive Council.
In addition to its regulation of olive oil quality and purity, it also promotes olive products to worldwide consumers through events and campaigns. It is also a great source of support and resources for farmers and agriculturalists, as it fosters the continued growth of the olive industry.
*2 ONAOO（Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiatori Olio di Oliva.）
The official Italian testing lab.