First of all, it must be known that extra virgin olive oil is obtained from the olive through mechanical procedures or other physical means. Depending on their quality and acidity – keeping in mind that EU legislation forbids the packaging of virgin oils with acidity superior to 2º–, in other words, depending on their category, extra virgin olive oils are classified as:
Extra virgin olive oil
It is a superior category olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means. It may not have any type of organoleptic defect and it is the highest virgin oil category and it is the healthiest oil we can consume. General law limits its acidity to the value of 0.8º.
The oil with Protected Designation of Origin Les Garrigues belongs to this group. Its average acidity does not surpass two tenths (0.2º), and its origin and quality are certified through the Regulatory Board’s quality control procedures.
Virgin olive oil
It is an olive oil obtained directly from olives and solely by mechanical means, but with slightly organoleptic defects, and its acidity may not surpass 2º. It is fit for direct consumption.
Lampante olive oil
It is a highly defective oil with an acidity of over 2º. It is not fit for direct consumption and must undergo refining processes before being consumed.
Refined olive oil
It is what is obtained by refining and correcting, through chemical processes, olive oils not fit for direct consumption. Refining entails the loss of the olive’s characteristics, and only a totally transparent, plant-based fat remains. This type of oil cannot be sold on the market and is packed with a minimum percentage of virgin olive oil.
It is obtained by mixing refined oils with a minimum of virgin oil. It is composed of at least 80% refined oil and up to 20% virgin oil, which gives it a bit of colour and taste to keep the consumer from rejecting it. The quality of this oil is greatly inferior to that of virgin and extra virgin oils, because its main ingredient is refined olive oil.