` Greeks Respond to Calls for New Tests for Olive Oil Quality


Greeks Respond to Calls for New Tests for Olive Oil Quality

Sep. 30, 2013
By Anna Milionis

Recent News

Aris Kefalo­gian­nis

In the U.S. Inter­na­tional Trade Com­mis­sion, report, and else­where, New World pro­duc­ers are chal­leng­ing the effec­tive­ness of the exist­ing the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil stan­dard, and sup­port­ing the adop­tion of new test­ing meth­ods such as pyropheo­phytins (PPPs) and 1,2‑diacylglycerol (DAGs). Olive Oil Times asked three promi­nent experts whether or not Greece would want to sup­port such mod­i­fi­ca­tions of the inter­na­tional stan­dard.

Aris Kefalo­gian­nis, CEO of Gaea Prod­ucts SA

We wel­come the idea of higher qual­ity stan­dards and stricter eval­u­a­tion cri­te­ria for the cat­e­gory of extra vir­gin olive oil. Eighty-two per cent of Greek olive oil pro­duc­tion is extra vir­gin and within this per­cent­age the major­ity would still qual­ify as such even if we applied stricter cri­te­ria. We believe that a new stricter stan­dard should be the result of care­ful eval­u­a­tion and could include these test­ing meth­ods or other new meth­ods. We believe that stan­dards like the ones pro­posed by the Extra Vir­gin Alliance could safe­guard both the qual­ity of the prod­uct and the con­sumer.

Efi Christopoulou, Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil chem­i­cal and sen­sory test­ing expert


The IOC Trade Stan­dard has spec­i­fied qual­ity and purity cri­te­ria in order to improve the qual­ity of olive oil and to pro­tect it from adul­ter­ation with other veg­etable oils. Since its ini­tial adop­tion, it has been sub­jected to a num­ber of mod­i­fi­ca­tions, based on the new demands of the mar­ket and new devel­op­ments in the sci­en­tific sec­tor. The groups of expert chemists who work on this sec­tor and the results of their research are included in or mod­ify the Inter­na­tional Stan­dards. As far as I am con­cerned, any tight­en­ing of qual­ity cri­te­ria in the IOC Trade Stan­dard aims to improve the qual­ity of olive oils on the mar­ket and pro­motes all high qual­ity olive oils from any olive oil pro­duc­ing coun­try they come.

Pana­gi­o­tis Kon­stan­ti­nou, Direc­tor of OLITECN, Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil rec­og­nized chem­i­cal test­ing lab­o­ra­tory

Reduc­ing the lim­its of EC 2568/91 in order to ensure qual­ity would work only if cer­tain con­di­tions are met. We have to choose very care­fully which para­me­ters and which lim­its will be mod­i­fied and any mod­i­fi­ca­tion should not con­demn olive oils, which due to regional dif­fer­ences, may exhibit higher val­ues. For exam­ple, olive oils from the west­ern part of Messinia and the island of Zakyn­thos tend to have nat­u­rally occur­ring lev­els of ery­thro­diol and uvaol higher than the IOC lim­its. Exten­sive national research needs to be con­ducted on the char­ac­ter­is­tics of Greek olive oil in order to know which chem­i­cal para­me­ters and to which level we, as a coun­try, can agree to be mod­i­fied so that high qual­ity olive oils are not dis­qual­i­fied. But most impor­tantly for me, it is the enforce­ment of the cur­rent reg­u­la­tion which mat­ters but which unfor­tu­nately is not always the case.

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