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Researchers Studying System for Controlled Olive Oil Distribution

Jan. 6, 2015
Caroline J. Beck

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With a goal to study the effect of con­trolled envi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions on olive oil chem­istry, qual­ity and sen­sory eval­u­a­tion, three depart­ments of the University of Florence are con­duct­ing mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary research on a unique track-and-trace pro­gram orig­i­nally devel­oped by OliveToLive founder Paolo Pasquali of Villa Campestri in Florence, Italy.

With €500,000 ini­tial fund­ing from the European Community Organization for Research (ECOR), the TRACS (Tracciabilità di Alimenti Critici per la Salute, trans­lated Health Critical Food Traceability”) pro­gram is study­ing a unique dis­tri­b­u­tion model for olive oil. The OliveToLive sys­tem is designed to main­tain ideal con­di­tions from point-of-pro­duc­tion through autho­rized, tracked dis­tri­b­u­tion to final use by con­tain­ing its expo­sure to light, oxy­gen and swings in tem­per­a­ture.

The TRACS project involves three sci­en­tific depart­ments from the University of Florence (UF): Industrial Engineering, Agricultural and Internal Medicine. Professor Rinaldo Rinaldi of the UF Industrial Engineering’s Logislab heads a project team includ­ing Professor Romeo Bandinelli of UFIE and Professors Maria Luisa Brandi, Annalisa Romani and Annalisa Tanini, all rep­re­sent­ing the UF Internal Medicine Department. The team is work­ing together to val­i­date the sus­tain­abil­ity of EVOO’s best chem­i­cal qual­i­ties in the con­trolled OliveToLive envi­ron­ment over time.

Since the OliveToLive system’s cre­ation in 2011, the sys­tem has been mar­ket-tested at numer­ous restau­rant instal­la­tions. In addi­tion to Villa Campestri and the Culinary Institute of America in California, OliveToLive has placed equip­ment in seven loca­tions in Spain and Britain, includ­ing four Michelin-starred restau­rants: Tickets in Barcelona, Texture in London, Gloria in Oviedo and Monastrell in Alicante, Spain.

Over the past three years, we have proven the value of the OliveToLive sys­tem at every restau­rant offer­ing the pro­gram to its cus­tomers,” said Raquel Perramon, com­mer­cial direc­tor of OliveToLive Spain. The guar­an­teed qual­ity of three dif­fer­ent vari­etals is both edu­ca­tional and a per­fect sen­sory expe­ri­ence of the high­est qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil. It is excit­ing that the University of Florence will add sci­en­tific valid­ity to our proven mar­ket exam­ples,” she added.

Launched in September 2014, the TRACS project is engaged in first phase val­i­da­tion and expects to report ini­tial results by mid-2015 accord­ing to research team head, Professor Rinaldi. After first-stage analy­sis and sec­ond-stage engi­neer­ing, a full work­ing pilot project is expected to begin in mid-2015. Additional pro­posed phases will be con­ducted as addi­tional fund­ing is approved by ECOR.

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