Regal ‘Olive Oil’ – A Pomace Disgrace

Regal Olive Pomace Oil There really is no substitute for extra-virgin olive oil, something that I’m sure every foodie would attest to. However finding decent olive oil is getting harder and harder for me at my local supermarket. It wasn’t always this way. Up until several months ago they carried several foreign brands in convenient 250ml containers. Sure they were a little pricey but I considered the expense worthwhile for health and taste reasons (and boy could I make a bottle stretch! :) ). However lately the supermarket has now switched to carrying olive oil in much larger sizes, up to a gallon, and the smaller bottles have pretty much disappeared except for one by a local distributor ‘Regal’.

When I first saw olive oil in a Regal container I was quite suspicious – plastic, local, olive oil … the equation didn’t add up. Still, the label said Extra-Virgin, the price was right, and the alternatives were non-existent. I picked up a bottle and carried it home. When I opened it I was pleasantly surprised as it indeed smelled and tasted like the real thing. If the saga had ended here all would have been peachy, but as you can tell it didn’t.

The second time that I bought Regal Olive Oil I was confused, it no longer had the vibrant floral scent, and though the texture was right the taste was non-existent. What had happened?

On my most recent trip to the supermarket I again saw that Regal was the only option for smaller-sized olive oil bottles. Heavy hearted I decided to give them one more try. Maybe that bottle had been a fluke. One part of my mind noticed that the bottle now had a red label (instead of green) but I paid it no mind.

When I got home and opened the bottle, again I noticed something was off. No scent, no flavour. And this time I read the label closer and immediately noticed that it no longer said extra-virgin olive oil. Instead that phrase was replaced with a single word, Pomace.

What was Pomace? Was it a region? A pressing style? Curious I looked it up … and man was this the final straw

Olive Pomace Oil is the last dregs of the olive oil pressing process, ‘enhanced’ by petroleum solvents…yum :(

From Eat-Online.net:

[The] designation “olive oil” cannot be applied to olive residue oils. An olive residue oil, by definition, is obtained by treating the olive residue, called pomace, (which is the substance remaining from previous pressings) with solvents. It may be classified as “refined olive-residue oil” or “refined olive-residue oil and olive oil”. These classifications are suitable for human consumption.

Olive-Pomace Oil is a blend of refined olive-pomace oil and virgin olive oil fit for consumption as is. Once again, however, in no event whatsoever may it be called “olive oil” according to the International Olive Oil Council rules.

I would like to say that I would never recommend olive-pomace oil to anyone. It has a very poor quality ranking in the list of oils.

Constantine Alexander
Certified Olive Oil Consultant

How does Regal dance around this? Well first of all not only do they flagrantly continue to push the product as ‘olive oil’ they then go on to assert on the label…

“Regal Pomace Olive Oil is made exclusively from selected olives after the first pressing. These oils are meticulously blended by skilled craftsmen who have mastered the art from generation to generation to produce its own unique taste.”

Sounds positively picturesque doesn’t it! Compare that to the truth of how olive pomace oil is made:

Olive presses are unable to extract a residual 4% olive oil from the olive pulp. A process of “hexane extraction” is able to chemically extract most of this oil, which is then refined. Used primarily to make soap.

On a more alarming (and scary) level olive pomace oils also can carry a health risk because of the petroleum solvent process. In 2001/2 the New Zealand Food and Health Safety authority had to recall olive pomace oil from several manufacturers. The samples had to be sent to the UK for carcinogenic testing as such testing was not available in New Zealand. Now if that testing is not available in New Zealand I seriously doubt it is available here. This is a country after all that still can’t get its act together on DNA testing so I can’t see olive oil as having made its way to the front of the bureaucratic line. So once again we, the populace, are left to blind faith?

As far as I am concerned Regal has no business selling (possibly toxic) olive sludge to an unsuspecting (and overtrusting) populace as ‘olive oil’. Let alone pricing these dregs at extra-virgin prices. I am not amused. Even though it may mean having to trek over to a gourmet specialty store I won’t be endorsing this type of trickery, and I suggest that you spread the word and do the same! Here is a link to the Consumer Affairs Division online complaint form.

ETA: Since originally composing this my most recent trip to the supermarket showed the return of my favorite small-sized bottles of Carbonell extra-virgin olive oil, and the Regal Pomace Oil was gone! Let’s hope this is a permanent move. Yay!

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Passionate foodie, founder of Trinigourmet and Caribbean Lifestyle Maven. Author of "Glam By Request: 30+ Easy Caribbean Recipes"

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  • http://laurelsfoodwriter.blogspot.com Marsha

    I was horrified when I read this and I felt like you were saying that they more or less packaged petroleum jelly in a bottle…petroleum additives!!!
    What the?
    Nikki this is one of the most awful things ever…Thanks for posting this!

  • http://laurelsfoodwriter.blogspot.com Marsha

    I was horrified when I read this and I felt like you were saying that they more or less packaged petroleum jelly in a bottle…petroleum additives!!!
    What the?
    Nikki this is one of the most awful things ever…Thanks for posting this!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Marsha – social conscience with flavour … or in the case of this oil no flavour … diquez may have been better :P

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Marsha – social conscience with flavour … or in the case of this oil no flavour … diquez may have been better :P

  • http://dineanddish.squarespace.com Kristen

    I am so glad you brought this to our attention. I agree with Marsha…what the…??

    Have you tried the Alejandro and Martin Olive Oil? It is a little more pricey, but really good stuff.

  • http://dineanddish.squarespace.com Kristen

    I am so glad you brought this to our attention. I agree with Marsha…what the…??

    Have you tried the Alejandro and Martin Olive Oil? It is a little more pricey, but really good stuff.

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Kristen – hmmm not sure if they have that here in Trinidad, I’ll have to check, there is one in a ‘paint bucket’ styled container that has always intrigued me … the price of the Carbonell is already pretty high tho :( damn inflation!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Kristen – hmmm not sure if they have that here in Trinidad, I’ll have to check, there is one in a ‘paint bucket’ styled container that has always intrigued me … the price of the Carbonell is already pretty high tho :( damn inflation!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Kristen – hmmm not sure if they have that here in Trinidad, I’ll have to check, there is one in a ‘paint bucket’ styled container that has always intrigued me … the price of the Carbonell is already pretty high tho :( damn inflation!

  • http://gardenpath.wordpress.com/ Sandy

    It is all new to me. I hope we never lose our good selection of olive oils here!

  • http://gardenpath.wordpress.com/ Sandy

    It is all new to me. I hope we never lose our good selection of olive oils here!

  • http://gardenpath.wordpress.com/ Sandy

    It is all new to me. I hope we never lose our good selection of olive oils here!

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Sandy – I am sure that you’ll be safer, it’s always good to be vigilant though, companies love to exploit market ignorance. That’s the problem here cos people are more trained to look for the phrase ‘olive oil’ than to know the differences in the grades :(

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Sandy – I am sure that you’ll be safer, it’s always good to be vigilant though, companies love to exploit market ignorance. That’s the problem here cos people are more trained to look for the phrase ‘olive oil’ than to know the differences in the grades :(

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Sandy – I am sure that you’ll be safer, it’s always good to be vigilant though, companies love to exploit market ignorance. That’s the problem here cos people are more trained to look for the phrase ‘olive oil’ than to know the differences in the grades :(

  • http://caribbeangarden.blogspot.com Nicole

    That’s why I stick to good old James Plagnoil or Colovita

  • http://caribbeangarden.blogspot.com Nicole

    That’s why I stick to good old James Plagnoil or Colovita

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Nicole – hehehe. They had had nothing girl… nothing. For about a month. Thankfully everything seems to be back in stock now. I like Plagnoil too! :)

  • http://www.TriniGourmet.com Sarina

    Nicole – hehehe. They had had nothing girl… nothing. For about a month. Thankfully everything seems to be back in stock now. I like Plagnoil too! :)

  • http://www.sendmeasign.net Josh Lane

    Wow, Sarina! Thanks for sharing your learnings. Will definitely steer clear & stick with the EVOO!!

  • http://www.sendmeasign.net Josh Lane

    Wow, Sarina! Thanks for sharing your learnings. Will definitely steer clear & stick with the EVOO!!

  • http://www.sendmeasign.net Josh Lane

    Wow, Sarina! Thanks for sharing your learnings. Will definitely steer clear & stick with the EVOO!!

  • ludwig

    For those that don’t know the classifications of Olive OIls Pls read:

    HIGH END- EXTRA VIRGIN is simply the juices from the first mechanical crushing or Cold-Pressing of the reaped olives with acidity of less than 0.8%. NO chemicals added or used. A lot of testing by lab and taster (e.g. wine/ coffee)

    TOP MIDDLE – VIRGIN- Acidity less than 2.0%

    MIDDLE – PURE -A MIX OF REFINED AND VIRGIN

    LOWER MID -OLIVE OIL-a blend of refined oil and virgin oil Acidity 1.5%

    BOTTOM MIDDLE- LIGHT OLIVE OIL- Oil refined just like pOMACE

    LOW END – POMACE OLIVE Oil or more correctly Olive Pomace Oil is a BLEND of Refined Olive Pomace Oil with a small amount of VIRGIN Olive Oil produced using Hexane and heat. Used for frying due high burning point.
    ***WIKIPEDIA SAYS…………………….
    Olive-pomace oil is refined pomace olive production oil possibly blended with some virgin production oil. It is fit for consumption, but may not be described simply as olive oil. Olive-pomace oil is rarely sold at retail; it is often used for certain kinds of cooking in restaurants
    ***************************
    HEXANE :Used to “Refine or remove gums and / or acidity in food oils. In Pomace the Solvent is used for extracting the last dregs of olive”juice” for Pomace from the olive is the SAME solvent used in extracting most other edible oils. (PALM / CORN/Cotton Seed etc) Pomace is extracted no differently to any vegetable oils which we are used to.

    REFINED– Means Chemicals used. most likely Hexane- applies to Pure Olive Oil, Olive Oil and Pomace Olive oil in different degrees.

    Most of the commentators should have checked Wickewpedia or similar as in days of yore; only EXTRA VIRGIN was available in T&T and not all the other versions like Light, PURE, 100%(INCIDENTALLY LOWEST QUALITY)PURE, Pomace etc. From my observations as a buyer of both, the Pomace price is a lot less than the EV however, I am leaning towards Grapeseed for cooking. I use the Regal EV for sautee and salads but being lb wise I cook with Pomace and have used the Pomace for Pizza.

    GRSPESEED OIL seems to be the better alternative to Pomace which is used for frying as a sub for EV whose flavour etc starts to diminish at about 325f

  • ludwig

    For those that don’t know the classifications of Olive OIls Pls read:

    HIGH END- EXTRA VIRGIN is simply the juices from the first mechanical crushing or Cold-Pressing of the reaped olives with acidity of less than 0.8%. NO chemicals added or used. A lot of testing by lab and taster (e.g. wine/ coffee)

    TOP MIDDLE – VIRGIN- Acidity less than 2.0%

    MIDDLE – PURE -A MIX OF REFINED AND VIRGIN

    LOWER MID -OLIVE OIL-a blend of refined oil and virgin oil Acidity 1.5%

    BOTTOM MIDDLE- LIGHT OLIVE OIL- Oil refined just like pOMACE

    LOW END – POMACE OLIVE Oil or more correctly Olive Pomace Oil is a BLEND of Refined Olive Pomace Oil with a small amount of VIRGIN Olive Oil produced using Hexane and heat. Used for frying due high burning point.
    ***WIKIPEDIA SAYS…………………….
    Olive-pomace oil is refined pomace olive production oil possibly blended with some virgin production oil. It is fit for consumption, but may not be described simply as olive oil. Olive-pomace oil is rarely sold at retail; it is often used for certain kinds of cooking in restaurants
    ***************************
    HEXANE :Used to “Refine or remove gums and / or acidity in food oils. In Pomace the Solvent is used for extracting the last dregs of olive”juice” for Pomace from the olive is the SAME solvent used in extracting most other edible oils. (PALM / CORN/Cotton Seed etc) Pomace is extracted no differently to any vegetable oils which we are used to.

    REFINED– Means Chemicals used. most likely Hexane- applies to Pure Olive Oil, Olive Oil and Pomace Olive oil in different degrees.

    Most of the commentators should have checked Wickewpedia or similar as in days of yore; only EXTRA VIRGIN was available in T&T and not all the other versions like Light, PURE, 100%(INCIDENTALLY LOWEST QUALITY)PURE, Pomace etc. From my observations as a buyer of both, the Pomace price is a lot less than the EV however, I am leaning towards Grapeseed for cooking. I use the Regal EV for sautee and salads but being lb wise I cook with Pomace and have used the Pomace for Pizza.

    GRSPESEED OIL seems to be the better alternative to Pomace which is used for frying as a sub for EV whose flavour etc starts to diminish at about 325f

  • ludwig

    For those that don’t know the classifications of Olive OIls Pls read:

    HIGH END- EXTRA VIRGIN is simply the juices from the first mechanical crushing or Cold-Pressing of the reaped olives with acidity of less than 0.8%. NO chemicals added or used. A lot of testing by lab and taster (e.g. wine/ coffee)

    TOP MIDDLE – VIRGIN- Acidity less than 2.0%

    MIDDLE – PURE -A MIX OF REFINED AND VIRGIN

    LOWER MID -OLIVE OIL-a blend of refined oil and virgin oil Acidity 1.5%

    BOTTOM MIDDLE- LIGHT OLIVE OIL- Oil refined just like pOMACE

    LOW END – POMACE OLIVE Oil or more correctly Olive Pomace Oil is a BLEND of Refined Olive Pomace Oil with a small amount of VIRGIN Olive Oil produced using Hexane and heat. Used for frying due high burning point.
    ***WIKIPEDIA SAYS…………………….
    Olive-pomace oil is refined pomace olive production oil possibly blended with some virgin production oil. It is fit for consumption, but may not be described simply as olive oil. Olive-pomace oil is rarely sold at retail; it is often used for certain kinds of cooking in restaurants
    ***************************
    HEXANE :Used to “Refine or remove gums and / or acidity in food oils. In Pomace the Solvent is used for extracting the last dregs of olive”juice” for Pomace from the olive is the SAME solvent used in extracting most other edible oils. (PALM / CORN/Cotton Seed etc) Pomace is extracted no differently to any vegetable oils which we are used to.

    REFINED– Means Chemicals used. most likely Hexane- applies to Pure Olive Oil, Olive Oil and Pomace Olive oil in different degrees.

    Most of the commentators should have checked Wickewpedia or similar as in days of yore; only EXTRA VIRGIN was available in T&T and not all the other versions like Light, PURE, 100%(INCIDENTALLY LOWEST QUALITY)PURE, Pomace etc. From my observations as a buyer of both, the Pomace price is a lot less than the EV however, I am leaning towards Grapeseed for cooking. I use the Regal EV for sautee and salads but being lb wise I cook with Pomace and have used the Pomace for Pizza.

    GRSPESEED OIL seems to be the better alternative to Pomace which is used for frying as a sub for EV whose flavour etc starts to diminish at about 325f

  • http://www.oliveoilshoppe.com Kathleen Fitzpatrick

    I say, keep pomace oil in the cosmetic cabinet and out of the kitchen! Grapeseed oil has a high smoke point and if you are going to use oil to fry in, it is much, much better. Light, nutty flavor. I would never, never cook with pomace oil.

  • http://www.oliveoilshoppe.com Kathleen Fitzpatrick

    I say, keep pomace oil in the cosmetic cabinet and out of the kitchen! Grapeseed oil has a high smoke point and if you are going to use oil to fry in, it is much, much better. Light, nutty flavor. I would never, never cook with pomace oil.

  • http://www.oliveoilshoppe.com Kathleen Fitzpatrick

    I say, keep pomace oil in the cosmetic cabinet and out of the kitchen! Grapeseed oil has a high smoke point and if you are going to use oil to fry in, it is much, much better. Light, nutty flavor. I would never, never cook with pomace oil.