Anglo-Dutch transnational Unilever Patent Holdings received US patent 6187356 13 February for “Debittering of olive oil,” the work of six Dutch inventors.

Besides UPH, current players in this field are fellow Unilever subsidiary Van den Bergh Foods, a division of Conopco and Baxter International.


    Process for debittering olive oil comprising the exposure of olive oil which contains bitter polyphenols for at least 30 seconds to a finely dispersed aqueous phase, preferably consisting of hard drinking water, of which the pH is at least 5.5.

First of 12 Claims:

What is claimed is:

  1. A process for treating olive oil so as to debitter the oil which comprises 
    the following steps:
    a. preparing an emulsion of olive oil with an aqueous phase which is free
    from any substantial amount of debittering enzyme;
    b. exposing the olive oil to the dispersed aqueous phase for at least 30
    seconds; and
    c. removing the aqueous phase from the olive oil, where the emulsified
    aqueous phase is maintained at a pH of at least 5.5 for at least 30
    seconds of the exposure time whereupon bitter components in said oil
    are rendered less bitter.

By Navroz Havewala, correspondent