American Lab Recertified by Olive Council

Eurofins remains the only privately owned American laboratory to receive the IOC recognition.

Dec. 13, 2017
By Daniel Dawson

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The International Olive Council (IOC) has released its list of cer­ti­fied physic­o­chem­i­cal test­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries for 2017.

One hun­dred and five cer­ti­fi­ca­tions were awarded to 74 lab­o­ra­to­ries in 15 coun­tries. Spain led the way with 34 cer­ti­fi­ca­tions for 20 labs.

When there’s a com­mer­cial trans­ac­tion, the buyer has a right to require test­ing by the IOC stan­dard to ver­ify that it meets the IOC def­i­n­i­tion of extra vir­gin.- John Reuther, Eurofins Central Analytical Lab

Three types of cer­ti­fi­ca­tions were awarded by the IOC: basic test­ing, advanced test­ing and residue and con­t­a­m­i­nant test­ing. However, the advanced test­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tion is the only one that is com­mer­cially required for both olive oil qual­ity and authen­tic­ity.
See Also:Olive Oil Test’ Portal Simplifies Quality Testing
Advanced test­ing is com­posed of authen­tic­ity related tests such as fatty acid pro­files and per­ox­ide val­ues,” John Reuther, pres­i­dent of Eurofins Central Analytical Lab, said. Those are all com­mer­cially required tests for trade.”

The IOC awarded 71 cer­ti­fi­ca­tions for advanced test­ing recog­ni­tion. Laboratories cer­ti­fied to do advanced test­ing span the Mediterranean region and extend all the way to Canada and China. The Madrid-based orga­ni­za­tion also released its list of approved sen­sory labs. There were no U.S. labs among those accred­ited.

Eurofins remains the only pri­vately-owned American lab­o­ra­tory to receive the IOC recog­ni­tion. The com­pany has part­nered with Olive Oil Times to offer its olive oil test­ing ser­vices via the online test­ing por­tal


The only other American lab that received cer­ti­fi­ca­tion this year belongs to the New York-based sub­sidiary of the Sovena Group, a Portuguese olive oil pro­ducer.

Reuther said that the groundswell of inter­est in olive oil authen­tic­ity led the lab to seek cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, which it received last year for the first time.

Most of the olive oil that is used in the US is imported and thus falls under an inter­na­tional stan­dard,” he said. In order for us to pro­vide data on those types of prod­ucts we really needed to be a rec­og­nized lab­o­ra­tory. If some­one in the US is buy­ing olive oil from a for­eign sup­plier, that sup­plier would not rec­og­nize our data unless we were cer­ti­fied.”

Reuther’s lab deals with both domes­tic olive oil that is being exported and for­eign olive oil that is being imported. He said the lab’s job is to make sure every­one is get­ting what they bar­gained for.

When there’s a com­mer­cial trans­ac­tion, the buyer has a right to require test­ing by the IOC stan­dard to ver­ify that it meets the IOC def­i­n­i­tion of extra vir­gin,” he said. Before that trans­ac­tion occurs, the sam­ple would be sent to a lab to ver­ify that it meets that stan­dard.”

Olive oil pur­chasers, whole­salers, super­mar­kets, pri­vate label­ers, con­sumer advo­cate groups and media orga­ni­za­tions are among the dif­fer­ent types of com­pa­nies that send olive oil sam­ples to be tested in these labs.

In addi­tion to the 71 advanced test­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions, 10 basic test­ing cer­ti­fi­ca­tions and 24 residue and con­t­a­m­i­nant test­ing recog­ni­tions were awarded by the IOC.

Basic test­ing looks at crit­i­cal olive oil qual­ity para­me­ters, while residue and con­t­a­m­i­nant test­ing is tar­geted at con­t­a­m­i­na­tion that may occur dur­ing pro­cess­ing or be left over from pes­ti­cide appli­ca­tion.

Normally com­pa­nies that buy and sell olive oil are not required to have either cer­ti­fi­ca­tion for their prod­ucts.

The cer­ti­fi­ca­tion process for IOC approval can be timely and expen­sive, depend­ing on the pre-exist­ing capa­bil­i­ties of the lab.

The lab’s tech­niques must be ISO/IEC 17025 accred­ited, which is an inter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized norm and demon­strates that the lab is tech­ni­cally com­pe­tent. The lab must also have a cer­tain min­i­mum level of staff expe­ri­ence and equip­ment.

Once all the paper­work is filled out, then the IOC sends out test sam­ples to the lab.

They send pro­fi­ciency sam­ples — actual olive oil sam­ples — for us to test as part of a pro­fi­ciency study,” Reuther said. That hap­pens once a year. We sub­mit the results to the IOC and then they grade us. If we pass then we’re allowed to con­tinue on as a rec­og­nized lab.”

According to Reuther, there are many labs in the US that test olive oil, but whose tech­niques are not ISO/IEC 17025 accred­ited. IOC recog­ni­tion is not required for domes­ti­cally pro­duced and traded olive oil.

However, Reuther pre­dicts that more pri­vate lab­o­ra­to­ries will seek IOC recog­ni­tion over time. This would likely be dri­ven by America’s bur­geon­ing hunger for and increas­ing pro­duc­tion of olive oil.

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