Extra virgin olive oil. Can you read the label? Showing the harvesting farmland on it, makes you recognize a quality product.

Extra virgin olive oil. Can you read the label?

Extra virgin olive oil. Can you read the label ?

Supermarkets, gastronomy and country shops. Today everything is within everyone’s reach. The food is readily available and the consumer comes across a wide choice where quality does not always prevail. But how to understand which is the best product? One of the first “basics” useful for the consumer is knowing how to read the label correctly, especially when it comes to extra virgin olive oil. Providing adequate information is necessary for the protection of those who buy and for the consumer who is oriented to an informed purchase.


Many regulations have been issued in order to safeguard the consumer. The last of these is EU Reg. No.1169 “concerning the supply of information on food to consumers …” which sets out in detail the general information to be affixed on the label.This regulation is flanked by others, all aimed at informing the consumer about ingredients, expiry date and origins and the methods of preservation  The label has therefore become, and will be increasingly, an identity card of the product. For this reason the label allows companies to present their products, emphasizing the quality aspects and the quality/price ratio .After this basic information, try reading one of our labels.


When we approach a label, of any food, it is necessary that it be clear, legible and indelible. In particular, on a label of extra virgin olive oil we probably find mandatory indications and optional indications. The mandatory denomination must include the sales denomination, the origin and the name of the brand and the producer, the net quantity, the nutritional table, the lot, the storage method and the minimum conservation term. To these must be added, on mandatory indication for the Italian legislation, also the indication of the production or packaging plant.


The “harvesting farmland” is regulated both at  European Union national level.The EU legislation provides that the ‘extra virgin olive oil label and ‘virgin olive oil’ can bring back the ‘indication of the year’s harvest  only if 100% of the oil contained in the package comes from that harvest.The harvesting farmland, therefore, can never be indicated if the packaged oil comes from a mixing of oils from two or more farmlands.

However, the Member States are empowered to make such indication compulsory or not, stating that this obligation should concern only the oils of their national production, obtained from olives harvested on their territory and intended exclusively for national markets (therefore, as far as we are concerned, the obligation concerns only Italian oil marketed in Italy).

The Italian legislation provides for the ” extra virgin olive oil ‘and the’ ‘virgin olive oil’ should be compulsorily indicated the harvest year if 100% of the oil comes from that year’s harvest. Like European legislation, the harvesting farmland, therefore, can never be indicated if the packaged oil comes from a blending of oils from two or more farmlands. This information therefore allows the consumer to be able to distinguish between a product obtained from olives harvested in the current year compared to an extra virgin olive oil whose olives come from a previous harvest.   Ultimately beware of labels with very small and unclear text, especially regarding the origin of products and remember that each label must guarantee the indications on the brand, the production process, the place of production and the characteristics of the product.