` La Rioja Claims its EVOO is "Healthier"

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La Rioja Claims its EVOO is "Healthier"

Aug. 4, 2010
By Daniel Williams

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By Daniel Williams
Olive Oil Times Con­trib­u­tor | Report­ing from Barcelona

Study Spon­sored by Local Olive Oil Pro­duc­ers Claims Olive Oil with La Rioja’ Denom­i­na­tion of Ori­gin Is Health­ier Due to Higher Lev­els of Oleic Acid

Accord­ing to a recent study by Spain’s Tech­no­log­i­cal Cen­ter of the Meat Indus­try (CTIC) and the Asso­ci­a­tion of Olive Oil Mills and Olive Cul­ti­va­tors of La Rioja (Asol­ri­oja), extra vir­gin olive oil with the Span­ish La Rioja” denom­i­na­tion of ori­gin is healthy due to higher lev­els of oleic acid. Oleic acid has been shown to slow the devel­op­ment of heart dis­ease and pro­mote the pro­duc­tion of antiox­i­dants in the human body.

Manolo Catalán

The study ana­lyzed oil from the 2006 – 2007, 2007 – 2008 and 2008 – 2009 cam­paigns in order to arrive at gen­eral con­clu­sions from an analy­sis of organolep­tic para­me­ters and the chem­i­cal con­tent of olive oil which gives researches the abil­ity to deter­mine the qual­ity of an olive oil in rela­tion to other types.

The find­ings were pub­licly pre­sented by the man­ager of the Eco­nomic Devel­op­ment Agency for La Rioja (ADER), Javier Ureña, the gen­eral direc­tor of Qual­ity, Inves­ti­ga­tion, and Rural Devel­op­ment, Ope­dro Manuel Sáez Rojo, the pres­i­dent of Asol­ri­oja, Manolo Catalán, and the leader of the sci­en­tific project, Elena Romero.

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Catalán explained that the study shows an impor­tant dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion within the over-sat­ured olive oil mar­ket and the need to not sim­ply tell the con­sumer that one’s olive oil is the best, but that it is now nec­es­sary to prove it.” Romero set La Rioja’s oil apart from the hun­dreds of world­wide com­peti­tors by claim­ing that the study con­firmed that, La Rioja olive oil is unique from a sen­so­r­ial point of view; it is beau­ti­fully scented and has a green­ish tinge.” [1]

These efforts to dif­fer­en­ti­ate Span­ish olive oil are part of a larger mar­ket­ing project pro­moted and sub­si­dized by Span­ish local and national gov­ern­ments dur­ing a time where newly emerg­ing olive oil pro­duc­ing nations threaten Span­ish dom­i­nance of the world mar­ket.

La Rioja is a province and autonomous com­mu­nity of north­ern Spain. Its cap­i­tal is Logroño. Other cities and towns in the province include Cala­horra, Arnedo, Alfaro, Haro, Santo Domingo de la Calzada, and Nájera.

The report’s con­clu­sions, though not its data, were made avail­able on the CTIC web­site and are trans­lated here:

The con­clu­sions of the work, which is based on the cam­paigns 2006 – 2007, 2007 – 2008 and 2008 and 2009, are:

1 .- There is a clear group­ing and con­sis­tency of results in terms of the val­ues obtained in all para­me­ters exam­ined for all areas and sea­sons.

2 .- The behav­ior of the extra vir­gin olive oils from all areas of La Rioja dif­fer very lit­tle from each other, so that all have a behav­ior based on data ana­lyzed that is very sim­i­lar.

3 .- DOP oils from La Rioja have sim­i­lar­i­ties for 80% of the attrib­utes tested with sig­nif­i­cantly dif­fer­ent val­ues of color index and per­ox­ides.

4 .- Although there are dif­fer­ences in the color index between them, we say that our oils, regard­less of the area they come from, belong to the chro­matic scale from green-ocher, the most green in Zone of the Rioja Baja and the most ocher those of Rioja Media.

5 .- It is noted that there is a clear cor­re­la­tion between the para­me­ters ana­lyzed by instru­men­tal and sen­sory tech­niques: 2‑nonenal and value of fruit. There is a clear uni­for­mity of results for both cam­paigns to areas, which con­firms the ini­tial hypoth­e­sis on the organolep­tic char­ac­ter­is­tics that were expected a pri­ori from these olive oils: fruity aro­mas pre­dom­i­nate and are slightly green.

6 .- The oils ana­lyzed DOP cam­paign (06 – 07, 07 – 08 and 08 – 09) are slightly bit­ter-green char­ac­ter­is­tic due to the use of olives that have not fin­ished com­plet­ing their mat­u­ra­tion, and a touch fruity but not too intense with very char­ac­ter­is­tic aro­matic notes, the high­est val­ues cor­re­spond to bit­ter-green oils from Rioja Alta, and most fruits are those of Rioja Media.

7 .- The PDO olive oils from La Rioja have oleic acid lev­els very accept­able, and it has been shown that there are no sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences in the sam­ples ana­lyzed (either by area or cam­paigns) being the aver­age of all 70.04 ± 2.19 ppm oleic acid, val­ues well above the the­o­ret­i­cal. The high amount of oleic acid in these olive oils gives them added value, while rep­re­sent­ing a small per­cent­age
of olive oils in this para­me­ter is impor­tant and also makes them health­ier.

La Rioja oleic sec­tor has an impor­tant pres­ence in the great national and Euro­pean mar­ket. They are pro­duc­ing and sell­ing more and more olive oil, being a busi­ness to boom. Much of this area pro­duces extra vir­gin olive oil under the brand qual­ity Pro­tected Des­ig­na­tion of Ori­gin: Olive Oil of La Rioja.”

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[1] Larioja.com El aceite de la DOP Rioja es más salud­able por su ele­vado nivel de ácido ole­ico” July 31, 2010

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