What actually means “expiry date” in the case of olive oil and what happens if we consume expired oil ?
For olive oil, we talk about “time of minimum durability” (TMD) and not “date”. The difference between the two expressions is that in the first case, we speak of a minimum time, within which the product maintains its organoleptic properties defined on the label. Beyond this time, the product is however still edible in full safety.
In contrast, foods that provide a “date” should be consumed within that period, after which you may run into serious health risks.
By law, the olive oil TMD is 18 months from the date of bottling. Why did I underscore “date of bottling”? Simple, because instead of staring at the TMD from the date of oil production, the date of bottling will favor the usual crafty producers, and consumers are deceived. Indeed, it ‘s perfectly normal and legal to bottle an oil a year after its production and to put a TMD of 18 months from that date. One could argue that an oil stored in steel tanks, under nitrogen, and various other precautions, deteriorates by far less than in a bottle. This is partly true, but it is also true that there are no legal requirements regarding storage arrangements that avoid or block the process of deterioration of the oil.
Back to us consumers, let’s try to answer the question: does expired oil hurt? No, an expired oil does not hurt. But how long after the deadline expired can we consume our oil?
It depends heavily on oil quality, and in this case, on the concentration of polyphenolic substances contained therein. The polyphenol content in the oil not only makes it a valuable food for your health as it slows down the degenerative processes of the body, but also protect the oil itself from lawsuits. So an oil with a high content of polyphenols will last longer tahn one with less polyphenols. So the higher the quality, the longer it lasts.
A rule therefore does not exist, but the taster experience leads me to say that up to at least one year from the date of maturity, a high quality oil is able to maintain its organoleptic characteristics that make it an even better product.
Even if oil is particularly intense (and therefore with a very pronounced with bitter and spicy taste) it’s sometimes preferable to consume it toward the end, as it has happened to me a few days ago: I opened a wonderful variety Tonda Iblea oil and although it was already close to expiration, the tasting was still excellent!
This, I repeat, is true only for a high quality extra virgin olive oil. Other cheap junk is often defective and harmful to your health even before its expiration date!