According to the International Olive Oil Council, refined olive oil is the olive oil obtained from virgin olive oils by refining methods that do not lead to alterations in the initial glyceridic structure. It has a free acidity, expressed as oleic acid, of no more than 0.3 grams per 100 grams (0.3%) and its other characteristics correspond to those fixed for this category in the IOOC standards.
This oil is obtained by refining virgin olive oils (not olive-pomace oils) that have a high acidity level and/or organoleptic defects that are eliminated after refining. Over 50% of the oil produced in the Mediterranean area is of such poor quality that it must be refined to produce an edible product. Note that no solvents have been used to extract the oil, but it has been refined with the use of charcoal and other chemical and physical filters. An obsolete equivalent is “pure olive oil”. Refined oil is generally tasteless, odorless, and colorless. Many countries deem it unfit for human consumption due to poor flavor, not due to safety concerns.