What is cold extraction?

Many olive oils are marketed as first cold pressed or cold extracted, a denomination describing the temperature at which the oil was obtained. Olive oil producers in the EU must prove that the temperature of malaxation and extraction was under 27 oC (80 oF). This regulation does not apply in non-EU countries and thus the consumer has no assurance that these statements are true. The malaxation and extraction temperature is crucial due to its effect on the olive oil quality. Higher temperatures destroy the aromas and increase the acidity levels, thus producing a lower quality product, while the olive oil content in polyphenols, antioxidants and vitamins is reduced.