There are three related purposes of the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) Seal Certification Program:
- To provide producers and marketers with a standardized method of grading their 100% California olive oil as extra virgin.
- To provide producers and marketers who meet the certification standard with a means of distinguishing their products in the marketplace.
- To provide consumers and retailers with assurance that the oil they purchase is in fact extra virgin grade.
Overview of the Certification Process
To gain COOC certification, an oil must comply with requirements of both a chemical analysis and a sensory evaluation. COOC member producers must undertake this process following every harvest to ensure their oil meets the criteria to be considered extra virgin grade.
Chemical Analysis Requirements
The oil has an acidity level, in terms of oleic free fatty acid, of not more than 0.5% and a peroxide value of 15 meq O2/kg or less. Ultra Violet Absorbency for extra virgin olive oil as follows (required for 100 gallons or more):
- K 270 less than 0.22
- K 232 less than 2.50
- Delta K less than 0.01
Sensory Analysis: The COOC Taste Panel
After proof of an oil’s chemical requirements has been verified, the oil then must undergo a sensory analysis. The COOC Taste Panel samples each oil in a blind settings to ascertain that the oil qualifies as free of defects, an important requirement in achieving extra virgin grade.
All COOC Taste Panel members have undergone intensive training. The panel meets at least twice each month for the dual purpose of screening oils for COOC Certification as well as for continual training. The panel participates in six exams annually to maintain its calibration with international standards and is recognized as an accredited panel by the American Oil Chemists Society.
An oil only qualifies to display the COOC Seal once it has met with both criteria. Seal Certification is a process which is ongoing following every harvest. View our list of certified oils for the most recent harvest to ensure you are using the freshest, most delicious olive oil available.
If you are an olive oil producer and you are interested in submitting your oil to earn the COOC Seal, first you must become a member.