Odor identity is coded in spatiotemporal patterns of neural activity in the olfactory bulb. Here we asked whether meaningful olfactory information could also be read from the global olfactory neural population response. We applied standard statistical methods of dimensionality-reduction to neural activity from 12 previously published studies using seven different species. Four studies reported olfactory receptor activity, seven reported glomerulus activity, and one reported the activity of projection-neurons. We found two linear axes of neural population activity that accounted for more than half of the variance in neural response across species. The first axis was correlated with the total sum of odor-induced neural activity, and reflected the behavior of approach or withdrawal in animals, and odorant pleasantness in humans. The second and orthogonal axis reflected odorant toxicity across species. We conclude that in parallel with spatiotemporal pattern coding, the olfactory system can use simple global computations to read vital olfactory information from the neural population response.