XX CENTURY, MODERN TIMES

A FOOD CALLED OLIVE OIL

The XX century emerges as a period as bloody and disturbed as the previous ten thousand years: the Civil War in Russia, the Firstt and bloodiest World War, the Spanish Civil War, and, abbreviating the bloody episodes, the Second Great World War. There were years of economic recession, and, due to the two world wars, advances of incomparable rapidity in the diverse spheres of medicine, education, industry and trade (production, distribution and consumption ), emergence of marketing and information technology. The opening of world frontiers to trade, the shortening of distances between peoples, and the democratization of information were some of the main factors for olive oil to leave the lamps, lubrication of machinery, perfumes, and, finally, enter the XXI century as the most suitable fat to feature on tables throughout the world.

The end of the Spanish Civil War and broad agrarian reform, allied to the non-adhesion of Spain to the World War Two, stabilized the country, kept people in the countryside and guaranteed the bases for the beginning of widespread transformation in the countryside. Spain went on assuming its prominent place in the world production of olive oil.

In the middle of the XX century, the American scientist, Ansel Keys began the bases for the development of the Study of the Seven Countries, which, in 1970, voted the Mediterranean Diet (whose sole fat base was olive oil) as the healthiest in the world.

In 1959, the IOC - International Oil Council was created, affiliated to the UNO, its objective being to regulate the production and commercialization of olive oil.

The techniques of olive oil production entered definitively into the industrial revolution, with mills abandoning all the types of press driven by animal power or even mere electric power. Now they are equipped with machines of all sizes and capacities, controlled by computers, bringing them into the information technology era, with production levels that, in order to meet world demand, that grows year after year, beat their own records.

In the fair, Alimentária 96, held in Barcelona - Spain, the1st International Congress about the Mediterranean Diet, which rapidly began to be a commonplace theme for the most diverse media all over the world.

Spain, Tunisia, Italy and Greece head the list of olive oil producing countries. A single Spanish company bottles 550 thousand litres per year#, exporting its product to over a 100 countries on the five continents.

Olive Oil, Virgin Olive Oil and Extra Virgin Olive Oil are denominations authorized for the commercialization of olive oil. From these have emerged Aromatized Olive Oil, Monovarietal Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil# - Denomination of Controlled Origin.

Scientific research, performed by universities in various countries, have undertaken to test and prove the reason for olive oil being the principal fat in the Mediterranean Diet, thereby providing evidence that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans already knew.

In the 2003-2004 harvest, Spain reached the stupendous production mark of 1,450,000 tons of olive oil.

As the worlds population enjoys easy access to information, health, physical welfare, ageing with a high quality of life have become key goals of the human being. Healthy food has become a daily concern. Thus, the world distribution of olive oil is structured in an organized manner, and has allowed the gastronomic industry to adopt the liquid gold, due to its multiplicity of flavours and the guarantee of its vitamin bases, as the main fat on the health-conscious tables.