Produzione e vendita olio extravergine di oliva pugliese

How to read the label of extra virgin olive oil

The label of an oil reveals where it comes from and how it was produced: for this reason and to avoid nasty surprises, it is important to know how to read it

Once upon a time, when people spoke of a label, they spoke of good manners. Of course, the first meaning of the word is ‘tag’, to identify a product: but in ancient times such tags, labels, also served to set practical rules for life in society and the ceremonial of the courts. Precepts for behaving in the best way on every occasion, in short; but always in the name of good taste.

Well, even when we talk about extra virgin olive oil, we talk about labels… and good taste! Yes, because knowing how to read the label of an oil means knowing how to evaluate it, to avoid nasty surprises and to really know this product, to appreciate it at its best.

Because the label of an extra virgin olive oil tells us where that oil comes from and guarantees its quality. As well as giving a whole range of information that describes and marks this product. An indispensable guide in the name of flavour.

Label: the passport to extra virgin olive oil

The oil label is the tool that allows the consumer to understand what the product is. A text that, just like an official document must contain certain essential characteristics: starting with the name, depending on its type whether it is extra virgin olive oil, virgin olive oil, simple olive oil or olive-pomace oil.

If we speak of the former it must be specified by law on the label that it is ‘superior category olive oil, obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means’. Other indications that can be found on the label with reference to extra virgin oil are ‘cold pressed‘ or ‘cold extracted‘, which are used when the olives are pressed at a temperature below 27°.

What are the compulsory indications that must be on the olive oil label?

As we have said, the first mandatory indication is the designation of sale and origin. Then the net quantity indicated in litres, centilitres and millilitres in full or abbreviated form, must be compulsorily indicated on the oil label.

The third piece of information that olive oil labels must state is the minimum preservation date (the words ‘best before‘): in other words, the expiry date by which the product must be consumed. By this date, which is generally between twelve and eighteen months after bottling, the oil retains all its organoleptic characteristics.

If stored correctly, oil can be consumed even after this date but it may start to lose some of these characteristics. The oil’s label also states the storage conditions (generally, you will find the words ‘store in a cool, dry place away from light and heat sources‘ or similar).

What should the oil label contain?

Is that all? Of course not. The label of extra virgin olive oil must also contain other information. For example, the name or company name and address of the producer. In other words, who produces it. Next, the country of origin and the batch of origin (a series of numbers preceded by the letter L, important for identifying any non-compliant products that may have ended up, accidentally or otherwise, on the market).

Since 2016, nutritional information has also been mandatory on the oil label, i.e. all information about the energy value of the food. All the fats (monounsaturated, saturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids), carbohydrates, protein, fibre and salt that the oil contains.

How to make an olive oil label?

When producing an extra virgin oil it is mandatory to provide the consumer with all the information we have just discussed. But what else makes the extra virgin olive oil label truly unique? The style.

Frantoio Muraglia’s olive oil is unmistakable: on the labels of our extra virgin olive oil we put, in addition to the obligatory information also what makes the different types of oil recognisable. For example, the image of the olives to emphasise our Monocultivar; but also the other ingredients that match the taste of our extra virgin, such as basil, ginger, chilli pepper and lemon.

Extra virgin olive oil is a friend with an unmistakable taste: but for the encounter with this friend to be really tasty it is important to learn about it. The label is the first impact with the oil: it is its first impression. And although we know that the clothes do not make the man, the first impression is certainly something important.

Therefore, knowing how to read the label of an extra virgin olive oil becomes a useful resource for meeting… the right friend in the form of an oil; for avoiding unpleasant taste surprises and for starting – or continuing – a taste experience in the kitchen in the best possible way.


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