How to Handle Frozen Olive Oil: Our Shipment of Olive Oil Arrived Frozen

The Polar Vortex and cold winter weather throughout North America has caused olive oil to freeze during transit and in warehouses.  Bulk olive oil is shipped in non-climate controlled truck trailers and containers which are affected by the exterior temperatures.  A change in the appearance of oil, in response to the drop in temperature, does not affect the quality of olive oil in any way.

Olive oil, like any other natural substance, can freeze at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. The phenomenon of freezing does not occur at a precise temperature because olive oil is a complex mixture. There is not a direct transition from liquid to solid state, which explains the existence of “solid particles at varying degrees”, according to our QA Manager Mohamed Walha, which are flakes, precipitation, and cloudiness.

Is there an analysis factor on the COA that would indicate the freeze point of that lot? 

Palmitic acids are responsible for olive oil freezing. When the value of palmitic acid is high, the olive oil has a high probability of freezing.  The Palmitic acid value is between 7.50 and 20.00.

The olive oil will return to its original state, with time.  It’s recommended that you put the oil in a warm room between 71.6° F – 77° F in order to have the normal aspect return to the olive oil.  At CHO, the temperature in our production area is climate controlled between 68° F and 78.8° F – the optimal temperature of olive oil handling.

It’s not recommended to heat the olive oil with a high temperature in order to avoid physicochemical and sensory characteristics change.  Heating the olive oil or the abrupt rise of the temperature of the oil beyond 86° F causes the oxidation of the olive oil and modification of the sensory profile and nutritional properties of the olive oil.

In the summer, we’ll discuss the impact of high temperatures in your warehouse and during transit of the olive oil.