Chef Forum banner
1 - 9 of 9 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
362 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Dear Friends:

Spain's traditional love of olive oil took a battering yesterday when the government ordered about 10% of the stocks off the shop and kitchen shelves because of a cancer fear. It was acting on the discovery that some cheap de orujo olive oil was found to contain potentially dangerous levels of the carcinogen benzopirene. Producers argued that the goverment order would have disastrous consequences for several provinces where olive oil production is the main source of income.

Experts differ on what level of benzopirene is dangerous, but agree that prolonged exposure helps cause cancer. De orujo is made from the dried-out pulp left over from pressings of the higher-quality virgin and extra-virgin oils. Experts said the excessive levels of benzopirene could be a result of a change in the traditional production processes, leading to the pulp being subjected to intense heat, encouraging the creation of the harmful chemical. These changes were mainly introduced in the early 1990s, which means that many Spaniards have been using the newly banned oil for up to 10 years. Health experts warned that benzopirene accumulated in the body over years becomes dangerous when large quantities are stored up.

Newspapers reported yesterday that the oil had been found to contain between five and 25 times as much benzopirene as permitted in oils consumed in Germany, one of the few countries to have imposed a limit on it.

What surprised me the most was the reaction of the Spanish olive oil industry to its goverment's action to pull all of such olive oil out of the reach of consumers. I applaud the Spanish government's action which will assist in reestablishing consumer confidence in Spanish olive oil.

Another surprise to me was the discovery that most countries have not established legislation on the amount of carcinogen benzopirene that is allowed to be present in food products.

This whole story reinforces my belief that we should only use extra virgin and virgin olive oils in our cooking. Tangental to this crisis is the increasing importance of organic cultivation which is fast becoming a mainstream necessity. I have always argued that organic products do not belong in specialty stores but they are part of Main Street Markets. In my opinion, this is the way the food industry should develop if it wants consumers to regain confidence in its products after such crisis as the BSE disease and now this.

This breaking news story highlights the importance of consumer and food professionals awareness in purchasing olive oil. It is imperative that consumers become alert to the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil that is produced from a cold pressing process from a reputable producer as opposed to the health risk inherent in purchasing an olive oil with a temptingly low price that may be a mix/blend of olive oils that has been produced in part by this process recently banned in Spain. For long term health benefits, it is advisable to use extra virgin olive oil that is produced organically without chemical fertilizers or pesticides and from a reputable olive oil producer who does not mix acceptable olive oil with lesser quality oil. After all, you are what you eat.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,641 Posts
Papa, I have a question
What does cooking do to cold pressed ev oil?
Is it better to finish a dish with ev and use virgin for cooking?
Thanks for info...I so enjoy reading your posts.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
362 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Dear Shroomgirl:

Application of heat to olive oil reduces the fruity character of the oil and at some level alters the chemical structure of the oil. Olive oil, unlike a seed oil, remains stable in its chemical structure at relatively high temperatures because of its antioxidant and high oleic acid content.

Research has shown that most pure olive oils have "smoking points" (the point at which the chemical structure of fats and oils is changed) ranging from 406 to 468 degrees Fahrenheit. Extra virgin olive oils have a smoking point of approximately 300 degrees Fahrenheit. The fruity flavor of the oil begins to erode at approximately 150 degrees Fahrenheit.

This leads some people to believe that an inexpensive olive oil without regard for its organoleptic qualities may be used to prepare a heavily cooked dish. One interesting scientific argument, however, underlies the opposing culinary philosophy that the quality of your culinary creation is a reflection of the quality of the ingredients. During the application of high heat, cooking fat replaces part of the water content of the food that naturally evaporates during the cooking process. Although heat erodes the fruity flavor of olive oil, researchers have concluded that a deep cooking process, such as frying, with olive oil will inevitably impart a degree of flavor to the food. The point at which olive oil begins to penetrate the food, however, is later than other oils. Sixty percent (60%) of a food’s moisture content must evaporate before olive oil begins to significantly penetrate (as opposed to coat) food. Other fats penetrate the food more quickly. (This is one reason why foods fried in olive oil will taste less greasy and will be lower in calories than foods fried in other fats). But the issue is whether you want to use a different olive oil for heavy cooking than other uses, and one answer may be that you want to use a good quality olive oil for cooking that will have a desirable texture, odor and taste, but not necessarily one with a fruity flavor that will inevitably be reduced through the application of heat. Words frequently used by members of the International Olive Oil Council in their official tastings to describe organoleptic qualities which rate for odor and taste include: almond, apple, bitter, metallic, muddy-sediment, musty-humid, old, pungent, rancid, rough, soapy, sweet, vegetable water, and winey-vinegary. Therefore, I use a good quality olive oil for cooking that may not necessarily possess a fruity flavor, but most certainly does not possess the undesirable qualities lest they be imbued into the flavor of my dish.

I hope this is of assistance.

:)
 
1 - 9 of 9 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top