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The EU Oleum project is born

Analytical solutions to fight olive oil fraud

The EU-funded Oleum project has developed innovative analytical solutions to detect and combat the most common olive oil fraud and to ensure product quality and authenticity. Fraudulent commercial actions amount to around $ 30 billion a year globally, plaguing the industry, lowering consumer confidence and undermining the reputation of olive oils. Over the past four years Oleum research has focused on four areas typically targeted by fraudulent activity, improving existing techniques for: checking that the quality of the olive oil is consistent with the declared quality; check the declared storage duration; identify the illegal processing of olive oils; check the geographical origin indicated on the label.

The insights gained during the project were shared with laboratories around the world in a series of training courses and workshops. Members of the Oleum network had the opportunity to participate in the validation process of innovative analytical methods developed within the project itself. The network is constantly growing and is the ideal place for interested parties to engage in an open dialogue on methods that fight fraud and protect the quality of olive oil. To further encourage knowledge sharing, Oleum created a digital database, updated with an archive of research data. The aim of the database is to facilitate the harmonization of analytical approaches by providing validated documents and data that laboratories can rely on, to assess the quality and authenticity of olive oil samples.

Prof. T ullia Galina Toschi, from the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences Alma Mater Studiorum at the University of Bologna, coordinator of the project, said: "Everything moves from a single indicator of quality and genuineness to an overall vision of a oil that could be defined as 'biometric'. However, we cannot forget to proceed with an incremental, simple and robust approach, gradually distilling complex elements to make a new effective synthesis, avoiding any sensationalism, which introduces uncertainty and approximation. This is the difficult challenge that Oleum has won". The final conference of the project will be held on 17 and 18 February 2021, in which participants will have the opportunity to learn about Oleum's impact on future EU policies in the field of olive oil and discuss validation and analysis tools to ensure the quality and authenticity of olive oil.

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EFA News - European Food Agency