Chemical Characteristics Explained

Workout OliveAt D’Avolio’s, we think that olive oil is misunderstood when buying. What does the Chemical Characteristic Label really tell me? What is important to me? We will try to answer these questions and offer insight on the business of Olive Oils and Your Health.

What are the Key Characteristics?

At D'Avolio, we display the Chemical Characteristics Chart for every Extra Virgin Olive Oil we sell. Not all our products have a Chemical Characteristics Chart as Olive Oils that have been blended using Infused or Fused methods carry added components, only pure EVOO.

Chemical Characteristics

The image above is a snapshot of the product ordering page from the Marketplace.

This list represents the key characteristics you should be aware of when looking for the freshest Olive Oils in the market.

What is in Olive Oil?

Olive oil is composed mainly of triacylglycerols (triglycerides or fats) and contains small quantities of free fatty acids (FFA), glycerol, phosphatides, pigments, flavor compounds, sterols, and microscopic bits of olive. Triacylglycerols is a major energy source from plants and animals.

Did we lose you? Read on.....

We will now breakdown into the reported characteristics the important analysis from Olive Oils.

What is the definition of Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

Extra Virgin Olive Oil comes from virgin oil production only, contains no more than 0.8% acidity, and is judged to have a superior taste. EVOO accounts for less than 10% of oil in many producing countries; the percentage is far higher in the Mediterranean countries (Greece: 80%, Italy: 45%, Spain 30%). An Olive Oil is a fat as its general description.

Free Fatty Acids

In Olive Oils each fat molecule is termed "fatty acid". In its purest form, Olive Oil fatty acids are linked together formed a well defined molecule and are not degraded. When water and enzymes interact with olive oil, damage occurs to these fatty acids by breaking off certain parts referred to as free fatty acids.

Simply put, free fatty acids degrade the quality of olive oil affecting the quality and taste. EVOO should have very low free fatty acids, well below 0.5% and indicates fresh, desease-free and carefully handled olive oils.

At D'Avolio, our EVOO is received in sealed air-tight containers. We transfer the EVOO from these containers using a food handling system called a Peristalic Pump that requires no opening or manual handling by transferring the EVOO from the sealed container to the open bottle minimizing exposure to air prior to fitting of the bottle cork.


Peroxides are the result of oxidation of olive oil. Some oxidation always occurs in the production of olive oils. This is the result of the pressing process, packaging and even storage in closed bottles. Oxygen may exist in the head space of the container and dissolve in the oil. Oxidation produces an unpleasant flavor and odor and may adversely affect the nutritional value of the oil.

Essential fatty acids such as linoleic and linolenic are destroyed, and certain fat soluble vitamins disappear.

The more rancid or oxidized the oil, the more peroxides are present. Measurement of the peroxides in olive oil is a very simple procedure which can done at a testing lab or with a CDR OxiTester. High quality EVOO have a peroxide value of less or equal to than 10meq/kg. In order to be EVOO must have less than 20 meq/kg.

All D'Avolio EVOO have been tested and labeled to show the exact reading at time of processing.

*meq/kg equals one thousandth (10−3) of a chemical equivalent per kilogram.


Polyphenols are a antioxidant and area natural component in olive oils. The natural benefits to olive oils includes defining its bitter taste characteristic, astringency (taste) and resistance to oxidation.

Polyphenols have shown added benefits in a healthy diet to assist in lowering cholesterol, blood pressure and the risk of coronary disease. EVOO contains the highest level of polyphenols compared to other classes of olive oils.

Crush Date

Olive Oils like all foods degrade with time. Top ensure the freshest olive oil always look for the crush date on the label, or from the supplier. If the crush date is not provided, ask why it is not? At D'Avolio all our EVOO have the crush date prominently displayed at the time of purchase.

Country of Origin

Olive Oils have a distinct personality derived from the region, or hemisphere it is produced in. The crush date and country of origin together define the olive oil throughout the year.

Oils that come from the northern hemisphere are generally crushed October through December and start to appear in our stores in December/January. Southern hemisphere oils are crushed April through June and start to appear in our stores in July. By providing oils from both hemispheres D'Avolio ensures the latest and freshest products will be available in our stores to you.

In general, shopping at grocery or specialty stores that do not provide full disclosure on crush dates and country of origin may have oils past the expected freshness date. There is no requirement to notify the consumer on these important quality freshness indicators.


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