29 Jul Bay leaf Agrumato?
Tasmanian olive producer and AOA Director Christine Mann asks: “Just wondering if you have any thoughts/knowledge on whether putting bay leaves through the press with the olives would work please. I have never produced any flavoured oils, and just had a thought as I was pruning the bay tree. Would it work/be safe for eating?”
Ed: I don’t know of anyone making bay leaf agrumato method (co-processed) olive oils, however I don’t see any reason as to why not, as agrumato method oils are made using lots of other herbs and spices
Bay leaf and bay leaf essential oils are widely used in foods – so safety shouldn’t be an issue (the main safety issue is when leaves are used whole in cooking, which can be a choking hazard!).
The challenge will be to get the formula right in terms of the ratio of ‘fresh bay leaf: fresh olives’ to achieve a palatable outcome – suggest you try a few ratios eg 5%, 10% etc.
According to Leandro Ravetti at Modern Olives: “For Agrumato Method Flavoured Olive Oil: Depending on the type of fruit/herb and strength of flavour desired, the volume of fresh produce to be crushed typically ranges from 20% to 30% of the total weight of olives crushed.”
OliveCare® Approved Flavouring Methods and Food Safety
For food safety reasons, flavoured olive oils must not contain emulsions (mixtures of olive oil and other substances not soluble in oil (such as water or vinegar), and should not be made with fresh flavouring agents containing water (such as fresh garlic, lemon peel, fresh peppers, fresh herbs, etc). Particular care needs to be taken to reduce water content and achieve safe pH levels in flavoured oils. See Food Safety Requirements for Table Olives and Infused Olive Oil prepared by Jim Smyth (Olives SA 2007) pp 6-8., and FSANZ Compendium of Microbiological Criteria for Food (September 2018).
(a) Flavoured (Infused) Olive Oils (using distilled essences/essential oils)
It is recommended that ONLY Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Australian Virgin Olive Oil be used as the base oil in the production of flavoured (infused) oils; and ONLY use flavouring agents that meet the requirements of the FSANZ – Food Standards Code.
Under OliveCare® guidelines a producer of infused flavoured olive oil may use up to 1% imported content and remain eligible to use the Certified Australian Flavoured Olive Oil logo.
Under under CoOL regulations the use of imported flavour essences must be reflected in the Australian content declaration.
(b) Agrumato Style / Co-processed Olive Oils
Agrumato olive oils are traditionally made from crushing citrus fruits with ripe olives, which produces a naturally lower pH product. It is also common practice for co-processed olive oils to be made from olives crushed with fresh herbs, fruits, spices or other plants.
Non-Approved Flavouring Methods and Food Safety
(c) Hot Infused Olive Oils
Made by adding herbs, fruits or spices to an olive oil which is then heated to achieve flavours and then the oil strained to remove any residual vegetable matter. In this case the heating process degrades the oil rendering it less than Extra Virgin quality.
Note: For product quality and food safety reasons “hot infused” olive oils are not approved under OliveCare®.
(d) Display Infused Olive Oils
Where fresh or dried herbs, spices or fruits are added to an olive oil leaving behind residual matter such as leaves, grains or vanilla stalks.
Note: For product quality and food safety reasons “display infused” olive oils are not approved under OliveCare®.
OliveCare® Certification of Agrumato Method and Infused Olive Oils
The following Australian Flavoured Olive Oil™ and Australian Agrumato Olive Oil ™ logos are for the exclusive use of Code Signatories, and indicates a product bearing this logo is compliant with the Code Labelling Guidelines Appendix 2 and 3.
Note: The application of the Australian Extra Virgin® logo is NOT PERMITTED on flavoured olive oils.
AS5264-2011® Section 22.214.171.124 (part) “When edible natural olive oils, refined olive oils or pomace oils are used as a principal ingredient of food, the labelling of the food product shall specify the grade of the oil used in accordance with clause 126.96.36.199”.
It is recognised that infused olive oils are typically made from extra virgin olive oils or virgin olive oils, so it is important to specify the actual grade of olive oil used. However it must NOT be implied on the label that flavoured oils are Extra Virgin Olive Oils, or Virgin Olive Oils.
However, it is recommended that flavoured olive oils be labelled in accordance with the Code provisions for labelling of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, including batch numbers, best before data, and nutrition panel.
Where a Certified Australian Extra Virgin™ Olive Oil is exclusively used as the base oil for an infused olive oil using a distilled essence or essential oil as which meets FSANZ – Food Standards Code as the flavouring agent, then a producer may say on the label that it has been made using Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (subject to AS5624-2011 labelling requirements (see 2.2 above).
Note: The best before date for an Infused or co-processed / Agrumato style olive oil needs to be established by an oxidative stability test.
The use of retained samples will also assist in determining the potential shelf life of these products; the essential requirement is that the Infused or Co-processed / Agrumato product does not develop sensory defects or lose flavour within the stated BBD.
Recommended terminology to be used with flavoured (Infused) olive oils
XXXX (e.g. LEMON) INFUSED (FLAVOURED)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or Virgin Olive Oil or Refined Olive Oil)
[XX] being optional descriptors
With the characterising ingredient (Lemon Infused) shown on a separate line in equal or larger type case as the oil grade.
Ingredients: Australian Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or other grades of oils), and (distilled) essence of (eg lemon), (as well as including the normal nutrition panel, batch code and best before date).
Recommended label terminology to be used for flavoured Agrumato style olive oils.
XXXX (e.g. Lemon) Agrumato [Style or traditional method] Olive Oil, or
OLIVE OIL CO-PROCESSED with XXXX (e.g. Lemon)
[Style or traditional method] being optional descriptors.
Note: The use of grade terminology ‘extra virgin’ or ‘virgin’ is not permitted in the labelling of a Co-processed / Agrumato style product given the oil was never of EVOO or VOO grade, nor is EVOO or VOO used as an ingredient to these products.
Ingredients: Olives co- processed with XXX (eg fresh lemons), (as well as including the normal nutrition panel, batch code and best before date).
 Food Safety Requirements for Table Olives and Infused Olive Oil (James Smyth Olives SA 2007), pg 6-8: http://www.olives-sa.org.au/images/foodsafetytableolives.pdf
 FSANZ Compendium of Microbiological Criteria for Food (September 2018): https://www.foodstandards.gov.au/publications/Documents/Compedium%20of%20Microbiological%20Criteria/Compendium_revised-Sep%202018.pdf