Olive Oil Tips for Professional Buyers

Know the process.

Evaluate whether processors observe minimal best practices:

  • Fresh, undamaged olives are processed as soon as possible after harvest.
  • The processing facility is clean and the equipment thoroughly washed daily.
  • Oil is settled for 24 to 48 hours prior to transfer to temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks for racking, storage and possible filtration.

Evaluate different olive oils and choose those that will meet customer needs. Retain samples of the oils selected and compare to the oils delivered.

Raise specifications.

UC Davis studies show that olive oils can pass the common chemistry standards (FFA, UV, PV) even when the oils are old and defective. If you want fresh, require the supplier to deliver only oil from the most recent harvest to meet DAGs and PPP standards, which have a strong relationship with flavor quality and freshness. Insist upon a recent independent sensory panel analysis due to the perishability of olive oil.

Test regularly.

A supplier’s certificate of analysis may not reflect whether the olive oil is old and defective. Choose a laboratory to conduct sensory panel, DAGs, PPP, FFA, UV, and PV tests to get an independent assessment of quality. Test oil upon delivery or randomly throughout the year.

Store cool.

Ideal warehouse storage temperature is 59 °F to 64 °F (15 °C to 18 °C). Warmer storage conditions will accelerate the deterioration and shorten the shelf life of the olive oil.

In this section

Check out our best practices, review UC Davis olive publications from 1885 to the present, and access essential UC resources for olive growing and processing.