Buying Tips

Shopping for Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Always purchase olive oils with the COOC Seal of Certification, your assurance it is real California extra virgin olive oil and a fresh, quality product. Watch this video for tips on:

  • what to look for when shopping for extra virgin olive oil
  • how to safely store oil
  • best practices to protect its extra virgin properties.

Check the Label

Extra virgin olive oil is best used within 18 – 24 months of harvest. Some bottles are labeled with an expiration date over 2 years, which is why knowing the harvest date is so valuable. Also, read the fine print on the back of some bottles: the bottle may be advertised as coming from one specific region, but the fine print on the back may tell you it comes from multiple countries, which makes it impossible to trace the actual harvest date.

Look for the COOC Seal

The COOC Seal is the consumer’s assurance that the olive oil is extra virgin grade, grown in California, and from the most recent harvest. To earn the Seal, the olive oil must meet with the requirements of a chemical laboratory analysis and pass a sensory assessment by the COOC’s highly trained sensory panel each harvest season.

View the list of COOC-certified oils to buy directly from the producers or when purchasing in retail shops .

Storage is Key

Store extra virgin olive oil away from light, air and heat. These elements accelerate the process of oxidation which leads to rancidity. As oxidation occurs naturally over time, once a bottle is opened, it is best to use the oil within the 3 – 6 months. Extra virgin olive oil should be packaged in dark glass, tin or bag-in-a-box to cut down on light exposure. Light dramatically shortens the shelf life of extra virgin olive oil. Avoid purchasing oils stored on the top shelf of your market, where it may under direct light. Olive oil should not be stored next to the stove as this exposes the oil to consistent heat. Oil should not be stored in the refrigerator because condensation within the bottle may lead to off flavors. Store your olive oil in a cool, dark cabinet or pantry.

Know Your Retailer

Buy from retailers who know the producers, growers and importers. These experts also know how to care properly for the oil. Ask for a taste. Specialty retailers are generous with sampling, as they want the customer to know what they are buying.

Buying Online

Look for the harvest date in the online copy and always buy from the most recent harvest. If you do not see the harvest date in the copy, be sure to ask before you complete your purchase.