Olive Oil Chemistry

We take pride in our Extra Virgin Olive Oil. They are sampled and tested at harvest, and need to pass our high standards in order to be sold at our stores. We provide the chemistry reading on each EVOO's product page. 

Free Fatty Acids (FFA)

Free Fatty Acids are formed due to breakdown of the triacylglycerols in oils during extraction. The lower, the better! An elevated level of FFA can indicate poor quality or mishandled fruit, too much time between harvesting and extraction, poor storage and/or high temperature during extraction.

Oleic Acid

The major fatty acid in olive oil triacylglycerols is oleic acid, making up 55-85% of olive oil. The higher the oleic acid monounsaturated fat content translates to increased durability and shelf-life.

Peroxide Value

Peroxides are primary oxidation products that are formed when oils are exposed to oxygen causing defective flavors and odors, the primary measurement of rancidity in oil. Higher peroxide levels indicate oxidized and/or poor quality oil and serves as a proxy to the freshness & storage conditions.

Phenolic Content (Polyphenols)

Phenols are healthful anti-oxidant substances in olive oil which aid in slowing down the natural oxidative processes. It is an indicator of freshness, with higher amounts improving shelf-life and oxidative stability.

UV Absorption

UV spectrophotometric determination Secondary measurement of rancidity in oil. Elevated levels of UV absorption indicate oxidized and/or poor quality oil, possible refining and/or adulteration with refined oil.

Diacylglycerols (DAGs)

The ratio of 1,2-diacylglycerols to the total diacylglycerols is a useful indicator of fruit quality and acts as a snapshot of olive oil freshness. Low values can also indicate oxidized oil & sensory defects.


Upon thermal degradation of olive oil, chlorophyll pigments break down to pheophytins and then to pyropheophytins. The ratio of pyropheophytins to the total pheophytins is useful for distinguishing fresh olive oil from soft column refined, deodorized, or back-blended oils.


Existing Extra Virgin Olive Oil Standards

Chemical Property IOOC (International Olive Oil Council) Our Standards
Free Fatty Acid
≤ 0.8
≤ 0.3
Peroxide Value ≤ 20
≤ 9
Phenolic Content N/A
≥ 130
≤ 2.50
≤ 2.0
≤ 0.22
≤ 0.20
≤ 0.01
≤ 0.01
Oleic Acid 55-83% ≥ 65%
≥ 90 (within 30 days of crush date)
PPP N/A ≤ 5