`Portuguese Consumer Group Seeks Clampdown on Olive Oil Mislabeling - Olive Oil Times

Portuguese Consumer Group Seeks Clampdown on Olive Oil Mislabeling

Sep. 3, 2013
Julie Butler

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A Portuguese con­sumer watch­dog has called for more vig­i­lance for olive oil fraud, amid its claims that one in five extra vir­gin olive oils recently tested were unfit for that label.

DECO says the sen­sory eval­u­a­tion of 25 extra vir­gin olive oil brands sold in Portugal found that four — Auchan (Moura PDO) , É, Grão Mestre and Naturfoods Biológico — had defects dis­qual­i­fiy­ing them from clas­si­fi­ca­tion as extra vir­gin.

And it said a set of tests showed that Alfandagh brand organic extra vir­gin olive oil was not an olive oil but a mix of refined veg­etable oils. This amounted to fraud and was unac­cept­abe, it said.

Need for more inspec­tions

In the September edi­tion of its Proteste mag­a­zine, DECO said the test results would dent con­sumer con­fi­dence. Some peo­ple were pay­ing more because they wanted an extra vir­gin olive oil but were not get­ting that, DECO argued, and it called for the five brands to be removed from store shelves.

We demand more vig­i­lance on sev­eral fronts — from the mills to the pack­ers, and the super and hyper­mar­kets — to pre­vent the olive oil indus­try as a whole falling under sus­pi­cion due to the find­ings of our tests.”

The qual­ity of the olives and the extrac­tion process itself could also be improved by fol­low­ing best prac­tices, such as the cor­rect processes in olive groves,” it said.

Alfandagh pro­ducer refutes results

On behalf of Alfandagh pro­ducer M. C. Rabaçal & Aragão, Casa Aragão direc­tor Artur Aragão refuted the Alfandagh test results, say­ing they were con­flict­ing. The sen­sory test results reflected an extra vir­gin olive oil but the chem­i­cal ones sug­gested the oil was not even olive oil.

It was some­what irre­spon­si­ble” to accuse a whole brand on the basis of test​ing of one lot, when there may have been some kind of prob­lem with that small lot only, he told Portuguese news agency Lusa.
Aragão said the fam­ily busi­ness under­went reg­u­lar test­ing of its olive oil by an out­side com­pany from the olive har­vest to point of sale .”

We are con­tin­u­ally being mon­i­tored and blindly, with­out our knowl­edge, so we never run the risk of jeop­ar­diz­ing the work of a life­time ‚” he said.

Alfandagh was among the recip­i­ents of Prestige Gold awards at this year’s Terraolivo com­pe­ti­tion in Jerusalem.

The top olive oils also among the cheap­est

DECO told Olive Oil Times it was unable to pro­vide copies of the lab­o­ra­tory test reports as these were for inter­nal use only by the asso­ci­a­tion.

On its web­site it says that the analy­sis included a set of phys­i­cal-chem­i­cal tests estab­lished in European leg­is­la­tion, and organolep­tic analy­sis by a taste panel. Its Proteste mag­a­zine gives gen­eral rat­ings for the 25 oils accord­ing to fac­tors includ­ing acid­ity, per­ox­ide value, ultra­vi­o­let absorp­tion and alkyl ester lev­els.

The top two extra vir­gin olive oils in its test analy­sis — Dia Clássico (Minipreço)and Gallo Clássico — were also among the cheap­est.

Only two of the tested oils car­ried the date of bot­tling.



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