Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is the highest grade of olive oil. It comprises the fresh, natural juice of the olive and is unrefined, making it 100% natural and better for you. The high quality, natural production means it is high in natural antioxidants, vitamin E, and phytosterols. According to Australia’s stringent standards for grading olive oil, EVOO is a natural olive oil that undergoes laboratory testing to ensure it is of a quality to be classified as EVOO.
So, what’s the difference between EVOO and olive oil? Firstly, olive oil is not naturally obtained. It has undergone refining which includes high heat and chemicals to make it suitable for human consumption. This refining process strips oils of natural antioxidants and also produces harmful compounds such as trans fats, which are damaging to our heart health. In contrast, EVOO contains high levels of natural antioxidants and is free from trans fats.
According to Shane Cummins, head judge of The Australian International EVOO Competition, unrefined oil is a lifestyle choice. “Once you taste a really good oil it’s a lifelong addiction,” he says.