Next season, the international olive oil sector, bottling industry and exporting community will all follow a new commercial regulation devised by the International Olive Oil Advisory Council. The rule was approved by the IOOC last November and will implement measures designed specifically to determine the chemical content of various olive oils.

Specifically, these tests look to evaluate the content of methyl and ethyl esters in olive oil by means of gas chromatography (splitting the gasses with a capillary column to determine the oil’s chemical makeup). With this new testing, the IOOC expects to improve the ability to detect fraudulent methods of production, specifically those that mask the smell of inferior oils by various processes of deodorization.

With the implementation of the new rule, gas chromatography tests will be implemented reveal an olive oil’s true content and thereby expose fraudulent producers. The approval of the new rule will directly affect the olive oil sectors of IOOC member countries given that it was this very Council that modified the European Economic Commission’s Rule 2568 in 1992 which previously set industry standards in European olive oil sector.

The IOOC hopes to implement this change before the end of the summer in order to give the industry a much-needed boost for the coming olive oil season. Experts see the implementation of such quality control measures as necessary in order to discourage fraudulent products. Fighting the adulteration of olive oil is an essential pillar in the long-term plan to rescue the international olive oil industry and is part of a greater worldwide campaign to rescue prices that have dropped significantly in recent times.

The International Olive Oil Council at the head of this process is the only olive oil intergovernmental organization in the world and was formed in Madrid in 1959 under the guidance of the United Nations. Its welcome message states that the Council is, “in a unique position as a forum for authoritative discussion on issues of interest to the olive industry”. Member countries make up 98% of the world’s olive oil production and are required to adhere to the standards it enforces.

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