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

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Greeks Respond to Calls for New Tests for Olive Oil Quality

Sep. 30, 2013
By Anna Milionis

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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

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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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