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An 'ID' for Apulian Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Jul. 30, 2013
Luciana Squadrilli

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On the 22nd of July, the new PIVOLIO project was pre­sented in Bari, the coun­try seat of Apulia, the Southern Italian region that pro­duces the most olive oil (40 per­cent of the national pro­duc­tion comes from here). The acronym stands for Innovative Process for the Extra Virgin Olive Oil Valorisation.

The aim of the new project — that was imple­mented with funds from the Ministry of Education, Universities and Research within the frame­work of the National Operational Programme for Research and Competitiveness” 2007 – 2013 — is to cer­tify extra vir­gin olive oil qual­ity with grow­ers using state-of-the-art tech­nol­ogy, to pro­mote qual­ity prod­ucts, while at the same time oppos­ing frauds.

Gennaro Sicolo, chair­man of the local pro­duc­ers’ coop­er­a­tive Oliveti Terra di Bari, illus­trated the main fea­tures of what he described as a research project that has a huge impor­tance for olive grow­ing, the lead­ing sec­tor of local econ­omy.” It will help to cer­tify extra vir­gin olive oil qual­ity, thus defend­ing the com­mit­ment of the hun­dreds of thou­sands of pro­duc­ers whose work has never been fully acknowl­edged,” he said.

For the first time, the NIR (near infrared spec­troscopy) analy­sis will be made straight by the oil mill, for every sin­gle pro­duc­tion place. The infor­ma­tion will be used imme­di­ately, help­ing to clas­sify and pro­tect the olive oil qual­ity, and to sup­port the trace­abil­ity system.

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The project will involve over 400 farms in the areas of three local dis­tricts — Bari, Foggia and Bat, includ­ing the cities of Barletta, Andria and Trani — and 7 local pro­duc­ers’ coop­er­a­tives, together with many local orga­ni­za­tions and sci­en­tific insti­tutes: the Universities of Bari and Salento, the Institute of Clinical Physiology of CNR (National Research Council), the Olive Growing and Oil Industry Research Center of Rende, the CARSO (Training Center for Oncological Scientific Research) con­sor­tium, the Oliveti Terra di Bari coop­er­a­tive and Apuliabiotech.

Together they will invest 4 mil­lion euros to cre­ate an iden­tity card” for extra vir­gin olive oil, iden­ti­fy­ing every sin­gle vari­ety’s spe­cific genetic makeup by using Nuclear mag­netic res­o­nance (NMR). This will start from some of the most rep­re­sen­ta­tive local vari­eties such as Coratina, Ogliarola Barese, Cima di Bitonto, Cima di Mola and Peranzana.

Among the pro­jec­t’s aims is the cre­ation of a data­base of the dif­fer­ent vari­eties’ ele­ments and their anti-inflam­ma­tory and anti­cancer effects. The pro­duc­ers will be able to sci­en­tif­i­cally sup­port their prod­ucts and their prop­er­ties, thus adding value to their sin­gle-ori­gin olive oils.

Customers will take advan­tage of the project, too: a cor­rect and com­plete labelling — which will report a wide range of infor­ma­tions, such as all the organolep­tic, nutri­tional and cura­tive prop­er­ties — will help them under­stand what they are buy­ing (and eat­ing), fully informed of its ori­gin and properties.



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