Keep away from heat and light

Keep away from heat and light is an instruction that we read on bottles of E.V.O.O. From December 2014 keep away from heat and light is a compulsory piece of information that has to appear on every single bottle of EVOO in order to comply with E.U regulation. But why is this a legal labeling requirement? Because air, heat and light are the enemy of EVOO, we should avoid these things if we want to preserve its quality and all the health benefits of our oil. The antioxidants and vitamins, the minor components that make EVOO so different from other commercial oils in the market like rapeseed oil (canola) or palm oil, will disappear if the oil is not protected. We shouldn’t forget that EVOO or Virgin olive oil (which I haven’t seen being sold here in the UK) is just the natural juice of a fruit , without any chemical preservatives or additives. If we leave a bottle of EVOO in the window in sunlight or even under electric light for a long time (like in a supermarket) the oil will change colour from green or golden to a paler one. This happens due to a chemical process where the oil degrades and becomes rancid, so it would no longer be Extra Virgin, we can detect this rancidity by tasting. Because of the effect of light and air on EVOO it would also be good to mention what packaging is best to protect and keep the oils in optimal conditions. It has been proved by some research  conducted in Spain that the best types of packaging are (from best to worst): «bag-in-box» (like some wine) as it protects from light and also avoids the oxidation of the oil; aluminium cans; tetra pack; dark glass or with UVA protection; clear glass and finally, PET. I hope these tips help you to choose your oil and conserve it afterwards, so that you can enjoy the taste and the health benefit. Remember, keep away from heat and light is your main contribution to keeping the quality of your EVOO.


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