`International Olive Council Studying Oils Beyond the Limits of its Standard - Olive Oil Times

International Olive Council Studying Oils Beyond the Limits of its Standard

Oct. 11, 2011
Curtis Cord

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In 2008, the International Olive Council’s group of expert chemists designed a study to gain a bet­ter under­stand­ing of olive oils that dis­played cer­tain para­me­ters beyond the lim­its allowed in the coun­cil’s trade stan­dards adopted five years ear­lier.

IOC mem­bers and non-mem­bers includ­ing the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Chile and Argentina were off­i­cally invited, via a 2009 Note Verbale, to help iden­tify the unique char­ac­ter­is­tics of their regional olive oils in a com­mon effort to improve the inter­na­tional stan­dard, pro­tect olive oil authen­tic­ity and pre­vent poten­tial fraud,” accord­ing to the coun­cil’s Executive Secretariat.

The IOC said it had since made repeated requests for sam­ples to ana­lyze, even while some New World pro­duc­ers were busy draft­ing their own stan­dards to be more in line with local char­ac­ter­is­tics. Meanwhile the IOC, which admit­ted its calls for action had yielded vary­ing degrees of suc­cess,” plans on pre­sent­ing the con­clu­sions of the study to the Council of Members for approval at its 100th ses­sion in November, 2012.

The sam­ples they did man­age to col­lect were reviewed last week in the IOC offices at a meet­ing of the coun­cil’s work­ing group on olive oil com­po­si­tion — part of the bian­nual meet­ing of expert chemists that assem­ble in Madrid to dis­cuss a range of chem­istry and stan­dards-related busi­ness.

At this ses­sion the group exam­ined new test­ing meth­ods, dis­cussed the results of recent stud­ies and pro­posed pri­or­i­ties for future work.


It was their first meet­ing since Australia offi­cially eschewed inter­na­tional olive oil stan­dards by adopt­ing its own guide­lines, cre­at­ing a new mar­ket seg­ment for olive oil exporters through­out the world. According to an IOC spokesper­son, the chemists assem­bled last week agreed on the impor­tance to bring stan­dards into line with eachother in order to pro­mote qual­ity, encour­age inter­na­tional trade and pro­tect con­sumers.”

Although they were invited, and have attended past ses­sions, rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Australia, the USDA, FDA, the California Olive Oil Council and the University of California at Davis were absent from the meet­ing this year.

Attendees included rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Algeria, Argentina, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia, Turkey, as well as from the American Oil Chemists’ Society, Codex Alimentarius, International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the European Commission.

The group pro­posed pre­sent­ing the method for the deter­mi­na­tion of sterols and triter­pene dial­co­hols for defin­i­tive IOC adop­tion next month. The same method would be adopted by the ISO for olive oils.

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