What has OLEUM achieved so far?

To enable European and international regulators and policy makers with insights, updates from the scientific experts and needs from the stakeholders that can feed the path of regulatory standards, normatives and their harmonization:


  • An on-line questionnaire was sent to more than 160 stakeholders with the aim to receive feedback on analytical methods drawbacks, normative failures and inappropriateness and current & emerging frauds in the olive oil sector. Up till now, around 80 answers have been received and the data are under elaboration.
  • OLEUM partners submitted a position paper on normative failures and inappropriateness and on analytical methods drawbacks to a scientific journal as gold open access. It will be hopefully available for the global scientific community before the end of the summer 2018.


To enhance methodology for the organoleptic assessment by improving reproducibility and developing a conjoint instrumental and sensory quantitative enhanced procedure (Quantitative Panel Test), including the adoption of at least two sensory reference materials:


  • A set of 180 samples of extra virgin, virgin and lampante olive oils were collected in 2017 by 6 sensory panels and exchanged among all the involved partners (panels and instrumental laboratories) for their sensory and compositional analyses.
  • Samples are being analyzed simultaneously by different instrumental techniques to study the volatile compounds and to select the most relevant ones according to their sensory impact. Different strategies for their determination and quantitation (screening, exact determination of tracers, non-targeted) are being tested.
  • A sensory reference material for winey-vinegary defect has been developed and its formulation is being optimized. A reference material for rancid is also under development.
  • The second year sampling of extra virgin, virgin and lampante olive oils is in course: 150 olive oil samples are expected to be collected in 2018 and shared among the partners in the next months. According with the available amounts of the samples and with the agreement of the Steering Committee, samples can be shared with laboratories of the OLEUM Network that want to collaborate with the OLEUM project.


To identify novel analytical markers with the aim of developing and validating innovative analytical solutions able to measure the olive oil conservation state in terms of freshness and “best before” quality:


  • A series of extra virgin olive oil mixtures, characterized by a different content and composition of tocopherols, fatty acids and phenols, were subjected to different conditions of storage (temperature/light).
  • Samples under storage are being analyzed with different analytical tools (NMR, FT-IR, fluorescence spectroscopy, HPLC-MS/DAD-FLD, HS-SPME-GC/MS/FID) to evaluate the freshness/quality deterioration


To investigate on the analytical methods for verifying the olive oil quality:


  • A viewpoint on which compounds should be determined to support the health claim on olive oil polyphenols defined by the Reg. (EU) 432/2012 (“Olive oil polyphenols contribute to the protection of blood lipids from oxidative stress”) has been published (Tsimidou et al., 2018).
  • OLEUM partners are realizing a review of the existing analytical methods available for the determination of phenolic compounds with the purpose of bearing that health claim.
  • A selection of the analytical methods (e.g. UPLC/HPLC-DAD/MS, LC-qTOF/MS) for the phenolic compounds determination (health claim) are being tested with a set of selected samples covering a wide range of phenol concentrations.


To revise existing methods and to identify novel analytical markers with the aim of developing and validating innovative analytical solutions for ensuring the olive oil authenticity (illegal blends between extra virgin olive oil and soft deodorized olive oil, and between olive oil and other vegetable oils):


  • Lab scale conditions to produce soft-deodorized OOs and desterolized sunflower oil have been set up (pilot plant production).
  • The involved OLEUM partners have analyzed samples of illegal (soft-deodorized OOs and vegetable oils) and legal (vegetable oils) blends with olive oil and extra virgin olive oils, including leaves and fruits, and extra virgin olive oils for assessing the geographical origin (Single State, EU, non-EU countries) (WP4). A survey on existing databases on olive germplasm and olive oil chemical compositions has been realized.


To promote open-access knowledge generation and dissemination by making globally available all the information coming from OLEUM research:


  • The list of descriptors for samples (passport data, eg. processing parameters, country of origin, quality grade) has been defined, as well as a guideline for the essential minimum reporting information for each applied analytical technique (eg. sample preparation, instrumental conditions). These minimum information will be fundamental to upload data and methods in the OLEUM Databank.


To undertake technology transfer of new methods and procedures to a wide analytical community and to assess its proficiency by specific fit-for-purpose actions (e.g. analytical discussions, needs of ring tests):


  • Full validation and technology transfer processes are agreed for two types of analytical methods:

a) Methods for which many expert laboratories exist (e.g. OLEUM revised methods);
b) Methods where laboratories have a previous very limited experience (e.g. OLEUM novel methods).


To engage the widest range of stakeholders (opinion leaders/regulators, food and drink industries including SMEs, the media, the scientific community, consumers) in the dissemination, exploitation and knowledge exchange:


  • 150 candidate members will soon be invited  to join the OLEUM Network. The OLEUM Network LinkedIn group has been activated (OLEUM question of the months: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/13511637).
  • An article describing the project was published on Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech (Gallina Toschi et al., 2017).
  • A project logo and a graphic identity have been developed.
  • Social media presence on Twitter via @Oleum_EU and @SciFoodHealth reached ca. 1500 followers.
  • OLEUM first year results were presented at about 30 conferences and events.
  • An infographic for public dissemination of the production of olive oil is under finalization and will be widely diffused to the global community for a correct didactic dissemination of the olive oil technology, often not known or not correctly diffused.




  1. Gallina Toschi T., Valli E., Conte L., García-Gonzáles D. L., Maquet A., Brereton P., Mcgrath N., Celemín L. F., Bendini A. 2017. EU project OLEUM: Better solutions to protect olive oil quality and authenticity. Agro Food Industry Hi-Tech, vol. 28 (5), pp. 2-3. https://zenodo.org/record/1184863#.WsccF5e-lPY

  2. Tsimidou M. Z., Nenadis N., Servili M., García-Gonzáles D. L., Gallina Toschi T. 2018. Why tyrosol derivatives have to be quantified in the calculation of “olive oil polyphenols” content to support the health claim provisioned in the EC Reg. 432/2012. European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, DOI: 10.1002/ejlt.201800098.

  3. http://www.eufic.org/en/collaboration/article/eu-project-oleum-assuring-the-quality-and-authenticity-of-olive-oil