All varieties of olive oil will now have to conform to the quality standards laid down by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
The quality parameters, which were earlier applicable only to virgin olive oil, refined olive oil and refined olive-pomace oil, have been extended to extra virgin olive oil, ordinary virgin olive oil and olive-pomace oil with an objective to protect consumer health and to conform to international quality standards. The standards of quality for other forms of olive oil have come into force from July 2013.
“Now, all types of olive oil need to match limits set to trace metals like copper and iron, insoluble impurities, refractive index, saponification and iodine value. Any variation can amount to violation of the norms of the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 and incur punishment,” said FDA joint commissioner (food) Shashikant Kekare.
“The products covered under the provisions of this standard should comply with maximum permissible limit of lead and arsenic not exceeding 0.1mg/kg,” said Dilip Sangat, assistant commissioner (food), Pune division.
By the end of March 2011, India’s total import of olive oil was 5,044 metric tonne (MT). In 2012, it grew to 7,163 MT, registering a growth rate of 42%. European olive oil types continue to dominate import with about 85% share with 48% coming from Spain and 36% from Italy, according to the Indian Olive Association.
In the first three quarters of the last financial year, April-December 2012, India imported 8,000 MT, which is expected to increase to over 10,000 MT in the current year. According to Indian Olive Association data, imports of olive oil in India surged by 66% to 11,916.76 tonne in the fiscal ended on March 31, 2013.
India is emerging as one of the fastest growing markets for olive oil, largely due to rising cases of diabetes, hypertension and heart diseases.
Refined olive oil: It is obtained from refining methods which do not lead to alteration in the initial glyceridic structure and it has a free fatty acid (FFA), expressed as oleic acid (which is a powerful anti-oxidant) of not more than 0.3 gram per 100 gram. (FFA is considered as an indicator of freshness and quality)
Olive oil: A blend of refined olive oil and virgin olive oil suitable for human consumption and it has FFA of not more than 1 gram per 100 gram
Extra virgin oil: Virgin olive oil with FFA of not more than 0.8gram per 100 gram
Virgin olive oil: Virgin oil with FFA of not more than 2.0 gram per 100 gram
Ordinary virgin oil: Virgin olive oil with FFA of not more than 3.3 gram per 100 gram
Refined olive-pomace oil: Oil obtained from crude olive-pomace oil by refining methods which do not lead to alterations in the initial glyceridic structure and has a FFA of not more than 0.3 gram per 100 gram
Olive-pomace oil: A blend of refined olive-pomace oil and virgin olive oil and it has a FFA of not more than 1 gram per 100 gram
(Source: Food Safety and Standards Authority of India)