Innovative technologies in Olive Oil authentication

The Mediterranean basin is the largest producer, exporter and consumer of olive oil.

Olive oils labeled with their geographical origin sell at a price premium which is higher for monovarietal oils of protected designation of origin (PDO) and protected geographical indication (PGI). The authenticity efforts concentrate on the identification of their varietal origin as well as their adulteration with lower grade, processed olive or other plant oils. DNA-based methodologies offer an alternative compared to classical analytical techniques for the identification of the origin of olive oil explaining the booming in research efforts mainly by Mediterranean basin countries.

Despite the plethora of published reports on DNA-based olive oil authentication and adulteration, and the obvious importance of this technology for the olive oil industry and trade, there is a lack of knowledge of stakeholders, regional organizations and state authorities in this innovative technology. This can be attributed to the complete absence of dissemination policies, flow of information and the well known mistrust on newly appeared technologies. 

The establishment of a Mediterranean cooperation network on new technologies in olive oil authentication and adulteration as a partnership will greatly enhance the dissemination of the prospects of such technologies and fill the gap between research and service development. Cooperation in know-how transfer to all Mediterranean countries will promote its use and lead to acceptance by regional stakeholders and industry.

The objective of this proposal is to create a partnership between academics and regional stakeholders in order to inform, share, exchange and disseminate the new, innovative technological platforms in olive oil authenticity and detection of adulteration. This way, the olive oil trade might be enhanced to the benefit of producers, wholesalers, retailers, exporters and eventually consumers. Moreover, the network will promote collaboration among members for the authentication of the major PDO, PGI monovarietal olive oils in the Mediterranean basin creating a database and a forum for exchange of expertise. The network will seek synergies for the establishment of methods tailored to the needs of analytical laboratories to serve as olive oil industry service providers.

The Network will: a) disseminate the prospects and challenges of the new technologies on olive oil authentication; b) set-up and validate common protocols and strategies to be used by the olive oil research community; c) promote the convergence of different skills to develop, compare and apply DNA-based authentication methodologies in the field of olive oil authentication; d) enhance collaboration between analytical chemists and biotechnologists; e) facilitate the creation of European networking in the olive oil authentication field; f) create a database platform and a forum for the exchange of information.

Last update: Sep 13, 2017