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CEQ OIL

For the Consortium, the Extra Virgin Olive Oil of Quality is the result of the perfect combination of good agricultural, environmental and technological practices that allow the obtaining and conservation of the peculiar nutritional and sensorial qualities offered by the many varieties of olives

CEQ quality guarantee label

Only the best Italian extra virgin olive oils can use the CEQITALIA quality label which guarantees compliance with the most rigorous production and conservation practices for obtaining an undeniable quality product.

The extra virgin oils, bearing the CEQITALIA quality label, have sharp sensorial differences from each other, due to the attention given to parameters related to taste and nutritional heritage, but sharing the same minimum quality level guaranteed by the quality label, that is significantly higher than the one required by law.

In terms of the mandatory nutrition declaration, the following is guaranteed:


Furthermore the high intensity fruity is guaranteed, from a sensorial profile, although there is no legal obligation, guaranteeing the presence of specific and objective sensorial notes that recall the olive’s fruit and guarantee the product and the production quality process.

From the moment that the extra virgin olive oil is placed on the market to when it is purchased and consumed, many months may pass during which the product is exposed to light, oxygen and temperature changes that significantly accelerate its quality decline. Consequently, for disposing of an impeccable product at the time of consumption, the CEQITALIA quality label asks to:

The degree of attention during storage, at home and in the restaurant, can make a difference on the real quality level of the product at the time of consumption.

and find out tips for the proper storage of extra virgin olive oil at home and in the restaurant

a.

a. It narrowed down the values of some quality parameters required by law for the extra virgin category:

Among these, those relating to acidity and ethyl esters in particular, for the important indications they give on the quality of the raw material and on the quality of the manufacturing process.

UE
parameters
CEQITALIA
limits
UE
limits
CEQITALIA
restriction/UE
Acidity
0,40 g/100g
0,8 g/100g
– 50%
Ethyl esters
15 ppm
35 ppm
– 57%
Oleic Acid
≥ 70%
≥ 55%
+ 27%
PAH
BAP < 1 ppb
Sum <5 ppb
BAP < 2 ppb
Sum <10 ppb
– 50%
Fruity median
≥ 2
> 0
+ 100%

b.

b. It introduced new parameters, not yet taken into consideration by the law

The new parameters complete the information framework on the quality process, in the field and in the oil mill, on the olives during extraction, on the oxidative stability of the oil over time, on the content of the aromatic and taste components and on the value of its nutritional properties.

CEQITALIA
parameters
CEQITALIA
limits
Umidity
≤ 0,10 %
Impurities
≤ 0,05 %
Polyphenols
≥ 250 ppm

c.

It predicted a further values restriction, required during the packaging phase, for those parameters which are subject to change during storage.

These are precious indicators kept under strict control, both at the factory during production, as well as when the product is on the store shelves, entrusting the control agencies to take samples to be analysed by accredited laboratories, to check compliance for the quality parameters values certified by CEQITALIA quality label.

The companies authorized by the CEQ Consortium to use the CEQITALIA quality label sign a protocol with which they agree to undergo all the chemical-physical and sensorial controls on their products having the guarantee quality label arranged by the Consortium with the support of third party recognized inspection organizations and certified laboratories, to ensure that deceptive practices aren’t put in place regarding the marketing product.

The control is done by inspectors who go first to the farmand thento the stores to collect product samples which are sent to laboratory and panels. (See video)

Compliance is ensured by granting the CEQ quality label:

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CEQ quality system

The Consortium promotes a “supply chain quality” that starts from the integration of all professionals who work in the various stages of the production process, since quality must be guaranteed by the close collaboration between producers, packagers and distributors.

All the companies that have been authorized to use the CEQITALIA quality label for an Italian extra virgin or a line of Italian extra virgin olive oils scrupulously respect a production specification with stricter rules than the national and European legislation.

The specification is constantly updated and contains rules and indications for guaranteeing the parameters required by the CEQITALIA quality label, from the olives production to the oil storage on the store shelf, establishing what must be done and what must be avoided along the entire supply chain.

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In particular, the Consortium to Guarantee Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil:
  • <establishes the oils characteristics at the time of packaging at the packaging companies;
  • sets the oils characteristics at the end of the preferable consumption time (TMC);
  • provides the quality certification guaranteed by the Consortium whose controls are carried out by independent specialized companies;
  • requires the use of independent and accredited quality analysis laboratories
  • verifies the final product at the factories and on the stores shelves, checking compliance with the quality requirements guaranteed by the CEQITALIA quality label;
  • applies severe penalties for non-compliance with commitments, to the exclusion of the companies from the quality assurance program.
To strengthen the guarantee towards consumers and among the operators who use the CEQITALIA quality label, the Consortium has approved a control System that provides verification all along the downstream phases of the supply chain, from the oil packaging to the store shelves. The quality control system will be extended in the coming years to include the processing and cultivation of olives.
  1. With the help of expert technicians and researchers, the Consortium has defined a standard that guarantees a high level of nutritional and sensory properties.
  2. The Consortium has applied the standard into a production specification with the fundamental requirements for producing a quality extra virgin olive oil.
  3. International certifying agencies carry out inspections at the companies that have requested to use and are using the trademark CEQITALIA.
  4. The oil samples are sent to certified laboratories and panels to evaluate compliance with the quality parameters.
  5. If the results are positive, the company is authorized to apply to the extra virgin Italian packaging the CEQITALIA quality guarantee label.
  6. The certifying agencies carry out further sampling from the stores to check the correct conservation of the product and the compliance with the quality standard.
  7. In case of negative results, the Consortium analyses the samples in other laboratories, to the point of demanding the withdrawal of the product and applying severe penalties to the company, including the definitive ban on the use of the label.
  8. In case of positive results, the use of the CEQITALIA quality guarantee label is confirmed.

Tips for the correct conservation of extra-virgin at home and at the restaurant

At home

It is necessary to emphasize that extra virgin olive oil is not a perishable product from a microbiological point of view, therefore the label has a preferable consumption date (minimum storage term) and not an expiration date. This means that the product, beyond the date indicated, will lose its original characteristics without thereby becoming harmful to the consumer health.

It is advisable to purchase an extra virgin olive oil that has the minimum durability date further away in time, in order to be able to use it to the maximum of its nutritional and sensorial characteristics. It is also important to buy quantities suitable for your own consumption to avoid keeping the same oil for a long time which, due to the effect of light, heat and oxygen, tends to turn rancid. In most cases the extra virgin olive oil colour is not indicative of its quality level, therefore it is preferable to choose dark containers, also equipped with an airtight closure and drip stopper cap which offer better guarantee of conservation.

Home preservation can have an important impact on the quality characteristics of extra virgin olive oil. At home, the oil should be protected from direct light and heat, it should not be kept in the immediate proximity of the cooking stove as well as places that are too cold. If it is transferred into smaller containers to minimize contact with the air, you need to make sure the bottles are completely filled, clean and dry; in fact, the oily residues from previous transferring or water are a source of oxidation.

Once the bottle is opened, the oil must be consumed in a reasonably short time, making sure to close the cap after each use.

Please also note that extra virgin olive oil deteriorates, although to a lesser extent than other vegetable oils, if subjected to high temperatures, therefore when used for cooking or, even more, for frying, it is not recommended the reuse.

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At the restaurant

It is fundamental to know the qualities of an extra virgin olive oil and the risk that these are lost over time also due to incorrect storage. A defective extra virgin olive oil transfers its defects to food preparations even if used in minimal quantities, therefore one of the first selection criteria must be the total absence of organoleptic defects.

When purchasing extra virgin, you must pay attention to the minimum shelf life indicated on the label, that shows the date by which the oil retains its original characteristics and also helps, based on consumption, to decide the quantities to purchase, to prevent unused stocks from going rancid even if kept in good condition.

It is preferable, considering the vast quantities consumed in a restaurant, to buy the oil in tin cans that prevents oxidation by protecting it from the light. In the event where it is necessary to transferring into smaller and handy containers for everyday use in the kitchen, transparent bottles should be avoided and it is recommended using stainless steel containers which shouldn’t be refilled but cleaned and dried thoroughly before each filling. Any presence of water can in fact facilitate the natural process of oil decay, favoured, among other things, by the oxygenation of the continuous blends and the high temperatures found in the kitchen.

Storage must follow simple but effective rules: the tin cans must be hermetically sealed to avoid contact with oxygen and the absorption of extraneous odours that can defect the oil and must be kept in a cool and dark place avoiding too high ( > 25 ° C) or too low (<10 ° C) temperatures.

It should be noted that more times a cooked food is reheated, more the extra virgin oil will lose its aroma and content in antioxidants, with negative nutritional and sensorial consequences. Also keeping frying oil boiling for a long time is also a practice to be avoided, as it facilitates the formation of secondary oxidation compounds which are then transferred to food. Rancidity, in addition to being favoured by high temperatures, is also due to the oil being in contact with the oxygen in the air, therefore, it is not recommended to keep foods preserved in oil exposed for a long time.

A quality-conscious consumer pays particular attention to the extra virgin olive oil served at the restaurant because a drizzle of rancid oil can ruin even the most refined food preparation. Glass ampoules would therefore be avoided, in addition to hiding the oil identity lacking transparency towards customers, it favours its qualitative decay because the transparent glass facilitates photooxidation, the non-hermetic cap favours contact with the oxygen in the air, the difficulty in cleaning causes the formation of deposits that ruin the product and the practice of refilling turns rancid the fresh oil that is added. It is recommended replacing the ampoules with small bottles.

In the event that extra virgin olive oil is offered to customers on the “oils cart”, the restaurateur should be concern about having bottles with hermetic sealing and at a reduced volume to allow a quick rotation and offer consumers oils with a minimum shelf life further away in time. It is important to close the bottles after each use, making sure to clean the thread, especially in the absence of the drip cap, because the deposits left on the bottle neck turn rancid easily and transfer this defect to the oil at the time of pouring. The cart must also be stored in a place away from heat sources and not exposed to direct light.

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CEQ oil