On October 23rd in Athens, a meeting between Gennaro Sicolo, president of the Italian Association of Olive Growers (CNO), and the representatives of three growers cooperatives from Crete, Greece was organized.
The aim of the meeting was taking stock of the Program of Activities for the Traceability of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (PATO), a CNO project financed by the EU, which aims to certify the EVOO supply chains, in accordance with the UNI EN ISO 22005:08 regulation, based on shared technical specifications.
See more: UNI EN ISO 22005:8
The regulation defines the traceability of foods in order to guarantee product quality and safety.
CNO launched PATO three years ago to create at least thirty certified supply chains in Italy, by involving all the stakeholders of the olive oil sector from farmers to packers, and using technical and analytic parameters to foster higher standards of quality.
The Greek cooperatives have joined the program to be more appealing in international markets where consumers are increasingly concerned with product traceability.
Last year, the Greek cooperatives were invited to Italy to assess some certified supply chains. They visited an olive packing plant and a Tuscan manufacturer of cosmetics based on extra virgin olive oil.
“This project,” Mr. Sicolo said, “is an interesting example of cooperation and mutual trust between producers from two different countries that have always been recognized as leaders in producing high quality extra virgin olive oil. This partnership also has an important social relevance, resulting in the increased efficiency of supply chains in terms of environmental protection and food safety, and providing a common heritage which everyone should be informed about.”
Another goal of PATO concerns communication.
“A good communication strategy will continue to characterize our partnership,” Sicolo added. “A single communication format based on quality and certified traceability is a great tool to attract consumers and put them in direct contact with producers, while increasing their knowledge and awareness.
Dubai, Hong Kong and New York are some of the places CNO has chosen to present the project.
In early 2015, the PATO project will be presented in Athens to Italian, Greek and European institutions.