Extra virgin olive oil is valued for its nutritional properties. There are many varieties of it, which differ in quality. Because OLUM has developed procedures and analytical tools to assess the quality and authenticity of the oil before it reaches the store shelf.
Olive oil is the pride of Europe
Europe is famous for the production of high-quality olive oil. The number of its producers, however, is growing in line with the number of frauds in this sector. To counteract them, the OLEUM project was created, which received support from the European Union. It reviews the procedures designed to ensure the quality and authenticity of the oil. OLEUM used modern technology to eliminate sensory defects.
OLEUM Oil Quality Control Tools
The OLEUM-led project developed specific tests to detect illegal mixtures with other vegetable oils using sensory reference materials. Methods for checking the freshness of products and their suitability for consumption have also been developed. Additionally, a special open source collaboration platform was launched - OLEUM Databank, used to store calibration and reference materials. On the other hand, knowledge and experiences can be shared via the OLEUM Network. All these measures taken by OLEUM are to promote the regulation of trade standards.
The illegal mixing of extra virgin olive oil with soft deodorized oils, imitating the natural color and aroma, is becoming a growing problem. Increasingly, false information about origin is also provided. To determine the true quality of the olive oils and to identify the possible presence of false mixtures, OLEUM has developed specific VOC analysis tools to support panel tests.
In turn, to enhance the labeling, an ultra-high performance liquid chromatography protocol was introduced to provide evaluation both before and after hydrolysis. The project also includes methods for assessing the freshness of the oil. Currently, the OLEUM database is open for public registration, but soon it will most likely be limited to national quality authorities only.
OLEUM promotes responsible consumption
To raise awareness among consumers, OLEUM takes appropriate actions in the public space. Educational materials were presented, among others during the European Researchers' Night and in cooking schools. In addition, two OLEUM products have already become popular on the market, i.e. stock solutions for the analysis of volatile compounds and sensory materials made of volatile compounds. The main target markets targeted by the project are quality control laboratories.