Olive Oil

Olive oil culture and history

The earliest known written documents on the olive tree are Mycenaean clay tablets from the reign of Minos (2500 BC), which testify to the importance of olive oil to the Cretan economy.

The Greeks, for their part, included in their legislation measures to protect olive trees and provisions to encourage their planting and punish those who uprooted them. Later, the Romans were great consumers of olives and olive oil from Hispania and, more specifically, from Baetica (now Andalusia).

Since ancient times, the olive tree has been regarded in the Mediterranean basin as a symbol of peace and friendship, and its oil has been recognised as having curative, health-giving and religious virtues.

It is not known precisely when olive cultivation began in Spain, although the most widely accepted thesis points to the Phoenicians or the Greeks as the introducers; however, olive cultivation became important after the arrival of Scipio (211 BC). During the Roman era, trade in th ...


Features of olive oil

The so-called Protected Certificate of Origin (Denominación de Origen Protegida, DOP) is an official recognition at European level in the Council Regulation CE 2081/92, which is awarded to products of a special quality, due to their history and natural milieu. The agency in charge of controlling the certificate of origin is the Consejo Regulador, belonging to the Consejería de Agricultura y Pesca of the Junta de Andalucía. This Consejo Regulador registers olive groves, oil mills and packing plants.

The olive oil with certificate of origin undergoes a certification process that begins with the examination of the olive grove itself to the very moment the product is bottled. In the province of Jaén there are today three certificates of origin for extra virgin olive oil: Oil mills are factories in which olives are transformed into olive oil, exclusively through mechanical procedures (grinding, centrifugal force, decanting and filtering).

Among the different oils produced ...


Olive oil and health

(Jaén Declaration signed by more than 300 health specialists in the Olive Oil International Conference celebrated in Jaén, from 21st to 23th October 2004)

The Mediterranean diet, rich in virgin olive oil, improves the main cardiovascular risk factors, including lipid profile, blood pressure, glucose metabolism and antithrombotic profile. It also positively modulates endothelial function, inflammation and oxidative stress. Some of these effects are attributed to the minor components present in virgin olive oil, which is why this food should be included in the definition of the Mediterranean Diet.

Observational studies in humans have shown that monounsaturated fat may protect against cognitive decline associated with ageing and Alzheimer's disease. The minority constituents present in virgin olive oil have been shown to be bioavailable in humans, having antioxidant capacity and favourably modifying arterial function and haemostasis, due to their a ...