` Taiwan Claims Italian Olive Pomace Oil Contains Green Colorant - Olive Oil Times

Taiwan Claims Italian Olive Pomace Oil Contains Green Colorant

Jan. 9, 2014
Julie Butler

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Olitalia is the lat­est exporter to have its olive pomace oil rejected by Taiwan for allegedly con­tain­ing the green col­orant cop­per chlorophyll.

Amid inter­na­tional con­cerns about the cer­tainty of its test­ing, Taiwan’s Food and Drug Administration (TFDA) has announced that a nearly 17-ton ship­ment from the Italian sup­plier must be either destroyed or returned because the com­pound was detected in it.

Screenshot of a Google-trans­lated TFDA web page

Olitalia, which claims to be the olive oil brand most dis­trib­uted in the world”, is the island’s num­ber one olive pomace oil supplier.

Fellow sup­plier Vidoria, a Spanish com­pany, has 8 met­ric tons of olive pomace oil stranded at a Taiwan port after also test­ing positive.

Taiwan is under­stood to be tak­ing sam­ples from all such ship­ments in the wake of a wider edi­ble oil scan­dal in Taiwan which has seen var­i­ous com­pa­nies fined, and on December 16 saw the head of a lead­ing Taiwanese cook­ing oil com­pany — said to have adul­ter­ated olive oil with cheaper cot­ton­seed oil and cop­per chloro­phyllin — sen­tenced to 16 years jail for fraud and mislabeling.

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Expert says com­pound can occur nat­u­rally in olive pomace oil and grape­seed oil

Synthetic cop­per chloro­phyllin is per­mit­ted in cer­tain foods but not in veg­etable oils. Adding it to cheaper oils — called green­ing up” — is a trick some­times used to try to pass them off as olive oil, and espe­cially as extra vir­gin olive oil.

But as reported last week by Olive Oil Times, oil expert Wenceslao Moreda, from Spain’s Fats and Oils Institute in Seville, is among those who say that under exist­ing test meth­ods, a pos­i­tive result for the com­pound in the case of olive pomace oil or grape­seed oil may cor­re­spond to that formed naturally…and not to the addi­tion of the colorant…”

It is under­stood that a report by Moreda on the sub­ject has been sent to Taiwan by Spanish authorities.

Italian exporters ask for inter­ven­tion in Taiwan

And in a let­ter last month to the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade (ICE) in Taipei, ASSITOL, the Association of the Italian Oil Industry, which rep­re­sents pack­agers of olive oil and seed oils, said its tests showed that a min­i­mal pres­ence of cop­per chloro­phyll” can be gen­er­ated nat­u­rally” and at lev­els much lower than what would be needed to color an oil.

ASSITOL asked the insti­tute to liaise with the TFDA to seek the sus­pen­sion of any mea­sures against the import and dis­tri­b­u­tion of Italian oils in Taiwan.

The TDFA and Olitalia have yet to reply to requests for comment.

Another indus­try mem­ber who asked not to be named said he felt Taiwan was using for­eign sup­pli­ers as a scape­goat to cover up irreg­u­lar­i­ties in its domes­tic edi­ble oil market.


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