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I purchased a gallon of amazing Greek olive oil a few months ago. It has some floaty wisps in it now. Is it still safe?

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    Welcome to Seasoned Advice! Please include some more information so that people can give useful answers. I, for one, can't tell much from "floaty wisps". Is there a way you could upload a photo? Also, how was it stored (container, temperature)? In general, the more information you provide, the more likely it is to get a good answer. – Ratler Mar 10 at 1:13
  • I purchased it in January, and I believe that it was pressed in December. It is from a small organic grove near Sparta, Greece. I store it in a glass gallon jug in the darkest corner of my pantry, taking out a cruet at a time for use. The “wisps” do not show up when I try to take a picture. The oil doesn’t smell or taste rancid. – Katherine Wright Mar 10 at 2:46
  • What's the temperature where you store it? – Chris H Mar 10 at 8:49
  • I see expensive olive oils in the store with floaty wisps in them. I assume that people will actually pay that price and they're still good. Looking at the ingredients list ("olive oil"), I would have to guess that they're olive fragments. Are you sure the floaty wisps weren't there from the start? – Ed Grimm Mar 11 at 3:58
  • It seems just freezing. Does it look like having white flakes? – Alchimista Mar 11 at 12:57
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From your descriptions it seems just freezing of some of the oil components.

When the oil is kept at low enough T, it is naturally subjected to partial of even full freezing.

White wisps, flakes and even little solid spherical drops can be seen, which tend to deposit at the bottom but are about floating in the volume if the recipient is moved.

This is totally normal, right as water inevitably becomes ice when the temperature is about 0 °C.

In the olive oil case, a denser liquid forms starting at about 12/10 Celsius and becomes evident as described above when the T is about 5 or 6 °C.

This is a normal occurrence during winter time whenever the oil is transported and/or stored in caves, supermarket corners, and even at home like in storeroom or balconies.

The oil slowly recovers its liquid clear appearance if left at normal room temperature and most important it is still safe and its organoleptic characteristics are basically unchanged, too.

There are tests based on freezing behaviour as for oils will have specific T profiles depending on their composition and possible treatments (e.g. filtration, ..) they could have been submitted to.

At a very deep level of discussion, an oil that underwent freezing might be susceptible of a faster rancidification, as for in the while the crystallized fat part is unprotected by natural radical scavengers such as phenols compounds naturally present. But this should matter to those dealing with the storage of trade/business amount of oil.

Recommended storage conditions are in dark and at temperature in the range 13 to 18 °C.

Here is a picture of a quite severe freezing:

white deposit in oil, freezing

Enjoy your oil.

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    I used to work in a grocery store, in a cold part of the world, that sold a LOT of olive oil. Depending on the weather, our oils would come in with "wisps" regularly, due to a partial freezing on the delivery truck; in colder weather, it would start looking like the picture above. It always went away when warmed up in the building. – Allison C Mar 12 at 14:34
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It should be good for quite a while. I would smell it, if it smells racid then it's gone bad. Also I might want to strain out the wispys.

  • This seems rather subjective. Can you define "quite a while"? and/or, How should Greek Olive Oil be stored? – elbrant Mar 10 at 1:27

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