A Marriage of Tradition and Technology
Olive oil imbibes the Lebanese culture and constitutes an integral element in sustaining the livelihood of the Lebanese people for generations. It is an essential ingredient added to every single dish. For Lebanese people, there’s no such a thing as too much olive oil. We use it profusely in our meals, savor it and enjoy its health benefits.
Domestication and cultivation of the olive dates back to the time of the Phoenicians over 4000 years ago. These merchants spread olive trees around the Mediterranean basin, Greece, Italy, southern France, Spain and finally North Africa. Olive oil was exported by these sailors to Egypt and other countries in exchange for commodities such as gold, papyrus, and wine.
Olive oil is the basis of the Mediterranean diet, it contains a balance of monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) and polyunsaturated fatty acids perfectly suited for the human diet as well as other compounds contributing to the sensory and health-promoting properties of olive oil.
At Oleavanti, we pride ourselves at using modern technology and practices throughout olive oil production, from olive harvesting, to milling, bottling, storage and transportation. Carol Saadé's Ph.D. training in food science and expertise in food chemistry, safety and packaging from Rutgers University has been key to establishing the high quality and safety standards in the finished oil.Her chemistry background has been critical in controlling the environmental factors such as temperature, oxygen, light and hygiene during harvesting, milling, storage, bottling and distribution to minimize spoilage and maintain the highest quality of the oil throughout its shelf-life.
She ensures the olive oil produced meets the regulatory standards for extra-virgin category through rigorous analytical testing and sensory evaluation by an International Olive Council certified panel. Free acidity increases as the olives are exposed to oxidants prior to pressing. High free acidity indicates olives were pressed too long after harvest or were exposed to the pulp and pits for too long during pressing. Peroxide number is a predictor of rancidity and should be kept down. The UV absorption index measures purity and quality. A high value indicates the presence of refined oils, adulteration, and rancidity. At Oleavanti, we follow these criteria:
· Free acidity ≤ 0.3
· Peroxide number ≤ 7.5
· UV absorption index (K232) ≤1.85
· Free from sensory defects
Fraud and mislabeling are common practice in the olive oil world. Carol has collaborated with the growers and the press to develop a traceability system from the grove to the consumer’s table through batch monitoring and management combined with analytical testing to determine the authenticity of the oil. Oleavanti is committed to being transparent to its consumers to avoid conveying misleading information.
Carol's innovative research on food packaging with application on fresh produce to improve their food safety finds great value in olive oil, the juice extracted from fresh olives. Her deep understanding of the important role of packaging to improve safety and retard oxidation and spoilage of olive oil throughout its shelf-life is a key to ensuring quality from grove to table.