In order to reduce the risk of spoilage, we must take into account all the factors that can compromise the quality of olive oil: its delicate organoleptic features are extremely sensitive to light and heat, and it is therefore essential to keep it inside appropriate containers. Generally speaking, after the pressing and filtering stages, olive oil is stored in special steel tanks that comply with all current laws on oil production. These tanks have three major advantages: they shield the oil from light, moisture and oxygen, keep it at a constant temperature, and never alter its flavour and aroma. Olive oil can stay in these tanks for long periods of time before being bottled and shipped.
And how is olive oil shipped?
Shipping is doubtlessly the riskiest stage of the entire process: in most cases, the oil has already been placed inside glass bottles, which are understandably quite fragile. Shipping can last to up to some months, depending on the distance covered and the means of transportation employed. Ideally, the oil should be bottled using dark glass vessels, to protect it from sunlight, and shipping should take place in wintertime, so that there is no risk of high temperatures ruining the oil, but sadly, this is not always the case.
Olive oil is usually shipped by road: the problem in this case is that there is no way of controlling the temperature inside the trucks, which can reach dangerous levels when the vehicles are parked in the sun. Even worse is when shipping occurs by sea, because in this case the oil is transported inside containers placed on the deck of the ship, in full sun and at the mercy of storms, and the journey can last a few weeks or even months.
We therefore advise you to make sure that whoever is selling you the oil has somehow “monitored” this delicate stage, or made sure that the oil in question only travelled a very short distance. It is not easy, but we should start taking these aspects into account when choosing what to buy.