`An 'ID' for Apulian Extra Virgin Olive Oil


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.


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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