Extra virgin olive oils with a polyphenol count surpassing 500 milligrams per kilogram will soon be eligible for a distinctive label in the European Union, advertising their health benefits.
Producers participating in the E.U.-backed Aristoil Plus project will soon be able to apply the Aristoil Collar labels to their products that meet the nutraceutical standards set by E.U. Regulation 432/12.
The Aristoil Plus project involves five partners from Spain, Italy, Greece and Montenegro. Its latest initiative follows up on the group’s efforts to enhance production techniques and technologies to improve the quality of its members’ extra virgin olive oil.See Also:Olive Farmers in Alentejo Seek Sustainable Certification Label
“The main success of Aristoil Plus is due to the involvement of all parts of the olive oil production chain, including scientific partners, institutions and consumers, which have participated in the process that resulted in the cluster,” said Emilia Arrabito, director of the Euro-Mediterranean Center for Sustainable Development, a non-profit directly involved in the project.
“Such a project is of certain significance to raising producers’ and consumers’ awareness about the nutraceutical qualities of extra virgin olive oil and, more specifically, of its polyphenols,” she added. “The Aristoil Collar is the starting point of a new adventure where the cluster will be recognized by the consumers who will therefore have access to high-quality products.”
The international partners of the project – including Italian food quality and fraud prevention authorities and a coalition of European cities for sustainable development – will work with producer associations and public entities to further develop the Aristoil guidelines and organize workshops for all stakeholders of the olive oil production chain.
“We aim to offer Mediterranean producers the tools to bring to the market a product that has a relevant healthy value so that consumers will not be thinking of olive oil just as seasoning but as a basic and fundamental part of their diets,” said Michele Sonnessa, president of Città dell’Olio, a network of hundreds of olive oil-producing Italian municipalities that participates in Aristoil, at a meeting in Rome.
“That will only be possible through the cooperation of the partners and the involved countries, with an approach aimed at promoting extra virgin olive oil,” he added. “The goal of the project will be to support expert training and the exchange of know-how, technologies and experiences to promote and market the nutraceutical extra virgin olive oil.”