Althealth


Follow Alt Health on Twitter

Oils ain't oils, say olive experts

Source: www.abc.net.au

Olive oil that contains too much of a particular fatty acid may not meet new international standards, potentially forcing exporters to sell their oil as cheaper vegetable oil.

A meeting of the world food standard-setting body Codex Alimentarius in London is this week considering requests by the International Olive Oil Council (IOOC) to lower maximum levels of linolenic acid.

The meeting comes as a paper published in the latest issue of the Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture shows 5% to 15% of Australian virgin olive oils contain higher levels of linolenic acid than the standard sought by the IOOC.

While linolenic acid does not largely affect the oil's taste or nutritional benefits, high levels may mean it has been adulterated with other edible oils.

Australian growers say linolenic acid, a minor component of olive oil, is present in Australian-grown olive oil to a relatively high degree because of regional and climate conditions that don't exist in other countries.

Secretary of the Australian Olive Association Chuck L'Huereux says in some seasons up to a fifth of the country's extra virgin oils exceed the proposed limit.

"If they're sent overseas and tested people can say it isn't extra virgin olive oil but vegetable oil, which sells for a lot less," he says.

L'Heureux says the new standard, proposed mainly by Mediterranean countries, is unrealistically low.

Which level is best?

Extra virgin olive oil can currently contain up to 1.5% of linolenic acid.

The IOOC wants that standard reduced to 1.0%, but Codex is yet to ratify the change.

L'Huereux says depending on the season, up to 20% of Australian extra virgin olive oils have linolenic levels between 1.0% and 1.5%.

"Because of our climate a lot of our oil can be between 1.0% and 1.5%," he says.

"We're not trying to increase the limit, we're trying to stop it being lowered."

He says some Australian olive growers believe the move is an attempt to lock smaller olive growers out of the Mediterranean-dominated market.

Australia isn't the only country with the problem, he says. In Argentina up to 45% of oils have linolenic acid levels between 1.0% and 1.5%.

Oil in Australia

Scientists from the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries analysed more than 800 Australian extra virgin olive oils between 2002 and 2003.

They found linolenic acid levels ranged from 0.42% to 1.91%, with 29 oils above the proposed 1.0% limit.

But Australian product stacks up well against international standards overall, the report says.

"The results ... provide evidence of the high quality of oils being produced and of the compliance with international standards," it says.

Professor Peter Clifton, team leader at CSIRO Health Sciences and Nutrition, says the report shows Australian olive oil compares well with oils from France, Argentina and New Zealand and the proposed new standard is "very low".

Buy 6 for the price of 5 Reduced UK postage available on orders over £35, maximum discount of £2.50 applies october offers

We ship out to the UK, EU and all over the world. In the UK, we dont charge postage on all Solgar products and Lifemel Honey, and reduced shipping on all orders over £35. We have a special offer of 'Buy 5, get 1 free' (excludes Solgar products and Lifemel Honey) and some of our special offers are even better than this with 'Buy 3 get 1 free', 'Buy 2, get 1 free' and even 'BOGOF' (Buy 1, get 1 free) on selected products. View our special offers page for full details.

© AltHealth 2014 | All rights reserved | Site by Cultrix