Good news for the scientific research, in Europe, to counteract the fraudulent activities in the world of the extra virgin olive oil. A workshop in Madrid has outlined the challenges and the urgent needs
In April 2011, the EU Regulation n. 61/2011 (1) become operative and the content of fatty acids alkyl esters (FAAE) has become an official quality parameter for extra virgin olive oil. The methyl and ethyl alcohols, which are part of these esters, are formed as a result of enzymatic and fermentative processes which occur if the olives, before crushing, overripe or incorrectly stored, suffer damages to cellular structures. When this happens, in fact , the leakage of water can facilitate processes capable of generating many volatile substances, between those ethanol. It is no coincidence that the “vine-vinegary”, linked to the alcoholic, lactic and acetic fermentations, is one of the defects which downgrade the extra-virgin olive to virgin or lampante olive oil, depending on the intensity.
A content over the limit of the alkyl esters can assume, however, the insiders know it, at least two different meanings.
First case: downgrading of the category accompanied by other chemical or sensory non-conformities, precisely because the etiology of alkyl esters is linked to degradative or fermentative processes. In this case, it is frequent that the oil is also sensorial defected. The alkyl esters are here clearly markers of a lower quality of the product.
Second case: the oil has values of alkyl esters higher than limit, but the sensory quality is unexceptionable. These analytical results may produce the suspect that, to avoid a sensory downgrading, the oil has been subjected to a fraudulent “stripping” correction of the volatile compounds. The alkyl esters are, in this case, markers for a not allowed treatment, known as mild deodorization. This stripping can remove volatile compounds but does not seem able, and future research will confirm or disprove, to remove the alkyl esters.
Currently the EU regulation sets a maximum limit on the total content of alkyl esters (sum of methyl and ethyl esters) of fatty acids at 75 mg kg-1, with the possibility to classify as “extra virgin olive oil” a product which, although presenting a total ester content of between 75 and 150 mg kg-1, has a value of the ratio ethyl/methyl esters less than or equal to 1.5. read more teatronaturaleHow to solve deodorization frauds in extra virgin olive oil? The EU reply will be soon,