The Chilean School of Chemical Development’s Olive Oil Tasting Panel (CEPEDEQ) has been officially recognized by the International Olive Council (IOC) as a sensory analysis panel.

Each year, the international organization awards the certification to tasting panels from around the world that have met the IOC’s rigorous requirements. According to the IOC, certified tasting panels must “achieve repeatable, reliable, and valid results within acceptable statistical parameters.” To meet this objective, certified tasters “need to have a high skill level, they must have been well trained, and the samples need to be handled in a method that does not lead to error.”

The Chilean Olive Oil Tasting Panel began as part of the “Electronic Nose and Tasting Panel To Dominate New Olive Industry Markets,” a group developed at the University of Chile School of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science. The goal of this group was to improve competitiveness of Chilean olive oil in world markets with an internationally recognized panel for the “characterization and quantification of flavors and aromas.”

Led by olive oil expert Gloria Portilla, the members of the Chilean Olive Oil Tasting Panel took weekly classes for three years in order to qualify for IOC standards, according to ChileOliva. Each member had to demonstrate outstanding knowledge and sensory abilities in order to recognize quality and distinguish among various types of oil. The group participated in two international tasting events in 2012 before finally receiving official certification from the IOC.

Chilean olive oil producers hope the IOC distinction will lead to increased exports and penetration of international markets.

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