A word from the coordinator
I welcome you to the first issue of the OLEUM newsletter and I would first like to take this opportunity to introduce the project’s progress and advancements.
OLEUM, a collaborative EU project, counting 20 partners and coordinated by the University of Bologna, started in September 2016, will last until 2020 and has already delivered the first results following an intense collaborative analytical and experimental effort.
A wide sampling plan for the Work Packages 3 and 4 (Figure 1), including more than 350 representative extra virgin, virgin and lampante olive oils, selected also due to their relevance as a first block for the library of the OLEUM Databank, and characterized by different specifications (commercial products but different in terms e.g. of quality, or geographical origin, or cultivar) has been realized during the first year of OLEUM. The samples have also been shipped and made available to all the partners for analysis.
Figure 1. Sampling plan of Work Package 3 and 4
The collaborative research activities aim to set-up and validate innovative, new or revised, rapid, easy-to-use analytical methods for better guaranteeing the integrity of olive oil (OO). The quality and authenticity of the OOs are fragile because of the high commercial, nutritional and sensory value of the products, and because of the increasing competitiveness and expanding markets in non-producing countries, the lack of a centralized databank of validated methods, data and calibration material, and the lack of global harmonization that can be exploited by counterfeiters.
With the aim of representing a shield for the OO global defense and a cultural and authoritative network of researchers for its valorization, OLEUM will push the development and the worldwide harmonization of the OO legislative framework. We will share methods and results through a specific platform in course of foundation (OLEUM Databank) and will establish a wide community of institutions and other relevant stakeholders involved in the OO sector (OLEUM Network).
After the kick-off meeting in Bologna in October 2017, the Consortium met in February for another successful technical meeting in Sevilla, hosted by Instituto de La Grasa. Here, fruitful discussions helped to align the project’s objectives, to achieve the first advancements and to build the foundations of an ambitious three year sampling. We have recently successfully presented the first results at the Euro Fed Lipid in Uppsala (http://www.eurofedlipid.org/meetings/uppsala2017/), during the OLEUM Project sub-session and now we are looking forward to the first annual OLEUM meeting (4-6 October 2017), hosted by Aristotle University of Thessaloniki immediately after the 3rd IMEKO FOODs International Conference (http://imekofoods3.web.auth.gr/); herein all the partners will present the progress already achieved and the OLEUM Multi-Stakeholder Advisory Board (http://www.oleumproject.eu/page/multi-stakeholder-advisory-board) will give its contribution to guide the project in the right direction, to maximise its impact.
I’m looking forward to the coming years, with the aim to build, piece by piece, a global platform of collaborative methods and data that can also be an example of cooperation for the fraud defense of other food products of high value, deserving protection of their quality, authenticity and reputation.
My last word is a call for all the stakeholders interested in the OLEUM Project. Whether you are an institutional or a private quality control laboratory, an olive oil production or distribution company, or a company that want to propose its instruments and analytical tools to be tested, I warmly invite you to follow the project website (http://www.oleumproject.eu) and to ask any information and to join the OLEUM Network by writing an e-mail to email@example.com.
Tullia Gallina Toschi (firstname.lastname@example.org), Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences (DISTAL) - Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, OLEUM Project Coordinator