Pomace (Photo credit: Lance and Erin)
Olive pomace oil is good for industrial purposes; keep pomace olive oil away from your kitchen. Used by permission from Olive-oilz.com
Pomace: the pulpy residue remaining after fruit has been crushed in order to extract its juice.
How olive pomace oil is made?
A genuine extra virgin olive oil is extracted by mechanical means only. By the definition of the International Olive Council (a UN organization) “(olive oil is) oil obtained solely from the fruit of the olive tree, to the exclusion of oils obtained using solvents or re-esterification processes”. After the genuine extra virgin olive oil is extracted, the residue that includes the pomace, the pits, the fruit skins and even leaves and stems is left over. Amazingly, it still contains olive oil, another 3-5% that was not extracted by the mechanical process. View the detailed process of making genuine olive oil.
Re-esterification: the chemical process of reconstructing fatty acids from triglycerides
In our modern times, growers and oil producers do not like the idea of waste; every penny counts. So, they dissolve the pulp in hexane (a derivative of crude oil) to chemically extract the “olive oil” (remember – by definition this oil cannot be marked as olive oil). The oil that was thus “extracted” (the producers sometimes call it second press) is heated up to evaporate the hexane. If the producer is eager to make a quicker buck, he heats up excessively (above the “safe” temperature of 195 degrees F, 90 degrees C), rendering the olive void of all its health benefits. Even worse, carcinogenic substances like benzopyrene show their ugly face.
Olive oil is the only oil that can be pressed out from its fruit or from vegetables. All other oils are extracted by solvents, heating and refining. One example is canola oil. Pomace olive oil is therefore not better than canola oil, soy oil and corn oil and its production process makes it dangerous in the kitchen. Sensible countries such as Spain, Germany and New Zealand banned the use of pomace oil as a food. Pomace oil can however be used successfully for industrial applications such as lubrication, bio-diesel and alike.
What are the dangers in eating pomace olive oil?
Whether sold as is, or mixed with virgin olive oil, or sold under fancy names, olive pomace oil consumption is risky. As I wrote above the production of olive pomace oil can produce benzoperene. Benzoperene can be found in coal tar (a resultant of wood fire), volcano eruptions and cigarette smoke. It presents health risks such as accelerated aging of cells and increasing the probability of carcinogenic cell mutations.
I recommend that you read the chapter titled “Industrial Oil” in Tom Muller’s book’s Extra Virginity – The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. Once you read it you will see the scandalous side of the olive oil industry; this will disabuse you from the idea of using anything but high quality virgin olive oil.