U.S. Lab Gets IOC Nod for Olive Oil Chemistry Testing

The International Olive Council has accredited Eurofins CAL for the chemical analysis of olive oil, the first independent U.S. lab to achieve the designation.

Dec. 15, 2016
By Wendy Logan

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For the first time, the International Olive Council (IOC) has bestowed accred­i­ta­tion on an inde­pen­dent U.S. lab­o­ra­tory for test­ing extra vir­gin olive oil sam­ples. It’s an honor, really,” said John Reuther, pres­i­dent and lab direc­tor for the New Orleans-based Eurofins Central Analytical Laboratories.

The accred­i­ta­tion is sig­nif­i­cant news for domes­tic extra vir­gin olive oil pro­duc­ers and importers who, until now, attained indus­try-stan­dard authen­ti­ca­tion for their prod­ucts only by send­ing sam­ples abroad.

Our pri­mary goal right now is to be sure we’re pro­vid­ing the high­est qual­ity data in the indus­try.- John Reuther, Eurofins

The IOC grants accred­i­ta­tion to chem­i­cal test­ing lab­o­ra­to­ries around the world (there are 80) that fol­low rec­om­mended meth­ods of analy­sis for purity, qual­ity, grade, and con­t­a­m­i­nants in olive oil. 

Proper pro­ce­dural test­ing ensures the verac­ity of the oils and pro­tects con­sumers from prod­uct fraud. The appli­ca­tion and screen­ing process for chem­i­cal test­ing facil­i­ties was devel­oped to dis­tin­guish lab­o­ra­to­ries that use the sci­en­tific meth­ods pre­scribed by the IOC for iden­ti­fy­ing the char­ac­ter­is­tics of olive oils. 

With no pre­de­ces­sors in the U.S. field, Eurofins had their work cut out for them, but Reuther said the com­pany was deter­mined to con­quer the vet­ting process. 

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We’ve been rec­og­nized in the food busi­ness for many years and our sci­en­tists and key tech peo­ple always sat on expert pan­els and par­tic­i­pated in AOCS (American Oil Chemists Society) con­fer­ences,” he said. 

Importers and domes­tic pro­duc­ers, tired of send­ing sam­ples to Europe or Australia, encour­aged Eurofins to get in the game. Every year, we’d hear, are you ready yet?’ And we knew that if you really want to be rec­og­nized in the busi­ness, you need to be approved by the IOC,” Reuther said. 

As part of a global net­work of mar­ket-lead­ing resources and inter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized exper­tise, Eurofins’ rep­u­ta­tion may have pro­vided some influ­ence in get­ting the IOC to look care­fully at the U.S.-based lab. Yet the process was nonethe­less rig­or­ous. The com­pany missed the mark in pro­fi­ciency test­ing in its first appli­ca­tion in 2015 but improved sub­stan­tially by this year. In late November, noti­fi­ca­tion arrived they had made the exclu­sive team.

The company’s next step is to get to work, mon­i­tor­ing the qual­ity of both imported and domes­tic extra vir­gin olive oil and work­ing with pro­duc­ers and large retail­ers who mar­ket prod­ucts under their own pri­vate labels. Our game plan is ready to exe­cute,” said Reuther. Our pri­mary goal right now is to be sure we’re pro­vid­ing the high­est qual­ity data in the industry.”


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