NEWS » When is Olive Oil not good for you?

When is Olive Oil not good for you?

If you think that olive oil is good for you, it is right. though not all olive oil is good oil, so caution must be taken when purchasing this key ingredient of the Mediterranean diet.

Recent data revealed that only a little less than 40% of Italian olive oil can be certified as “good quality”. The parameters to be included in the “good quality category” concern, according to “Symbola e Crea” ( Consiglio per la Ricerca in Agricoltura e l’Analisi dell’economia agraria), the organoleptic quality, a production chain respectful of the environment and the human resources, the management of the territory and waste disposal, the reduced use of chemicals and the respect of the health parameters.

The PIQ, “Prodotto Interno Qualità sulla filiera oleicola”, created by the “Fondazione Symbola e Crea” in collaboration with Coldiretti and Unaprol to measure the quality of the production chain, includes 102 indicators which represent the most complete set of information on the different production stages of olive oil. The PIQ is the first database through which the oils are evaluated on the market, a guide line for companies and customers.

The eternal battle is between quantity and quality. Only 39% of Italian companies choose quality, increasing the value of their product while the majority of them, 60.5% cut on quality aiming at increasing quantity.

It would be advisable to stimulate quality instead of quantity as the wine producers did when overwhelmed by the methanol scandal. They decided to focus on the quality of the product and the relationship with the territory, with prestigious wine varieties, and recovered old agricultural traditions such as those of the Romans, Greeks and the Etruscans. Now Italy produces 50% less wine but its value has increased by 6/7 times and in 2014 wine has been exported for a value of 5 billion Euros.     


Italy produces 20% of European olive oil and the EU holds the world primate. In 2014 an alarming increase of imported olive oil was recorded, and the national production decreased by 35 %, at the same time the seizure of oil and fat by the NAS Carabinieri has increased by 438% from 2007. 


“Voice from the Blogs” analysed 2 million posts in English and Italian revealing that customers are not well informed when it comes to olive oil. 12.8% of Italians use any kind of oil and 30% think that extra vergine olive oil is unhealthy and makes you fat. Moreover only 3.7% of the population fry with olive oil, which is much healthier than frying with other products.     

Giulia Lombardo

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