Researchers Studying System for Controlled Olive Oil Distribution

Jan. 6, 2015
By Caroline J. Beck

Recent News

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.