Autenfood focuses on analytical strategies to verify the variety and origin of olive oil and detect adulterations in order to guarantee the authenticity
Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives of Catalonia leads the Autenfood project, in which the LiBiFOOD research group of the University of Barcelona participates, as well as food companies, with funding from ERDF.
The problem addressed is are related to the high risk of fraud associated with olive oil, for this reason, it is very important to find formulas that help control, detect and reduce fraudulent situations such as adulterations with other oils or misleading about the variety or geographical origin.
The objective of this project is to guarantee the safety and authenticity of foods improving the detection of fraud. One of the lines of the project has focused on the development of new analytical strategies to verify the variety of olive oil, its geographical origin and detect adulterations with other types of oil, in order to maintain quality and promote consumer confidence.
The methodology developed during the project, which lasted three years, consists of the analysis of 400 samples of different types of olive oil from different producing areas of Catalonia.
With advanced statistical techniques, profiles of these compounds have been identified that can be used as “fingerprints” of authentic oils. The information collected from these samples has been compiled into a database in order to characterize Catalan olive oil production.
The main stakeholders and beneficiaries of this practice are mainly cooperatives and to other agents linked to the oil sector.
The budget of the Autenfood project exceeds one million euros and is co-financed by the ERDF Operation Program of Catalonia 2014-2020
Evidence of success
The results obtained directly from the project are:
• Validation of innovative techniques for the authentication of oil: spectrophotometrics and isotop analysis.
• These techniques allow the differentiation of oils according to their PDO and other factors (varieties and zones)
Additionally, an oil authentication protocol (work tool) has been proposed and an advisory service has been created aimed at companies and entities to respond to the sector problems related to the authenticity
Human and financial resources are necessary to collect samples.
The availability of authentic oil from the areas and varieties to be characterized is also essential. Analysis require high-level research centers because the technical equipment is expensive and specialized personnel are required.
Potential for learning or transfer
This project has promoted the link between production companies and the research teams involved, in such a way that a consolidation of services on authentication of foods is foreseen. The collaboration between the companies and the university's research teams has great potential to exchange knowledge and experiences, and continue to develop effective techniques for control of fraud control and authenticity, as well as their application in other food sectors (meat, processed meals, etc.). This type of project is a great opportunity for SME in the agri-food sector that can improve their quality standards to grow and be more competitive.
And can be transferred to other oil-producing regions and countries,(as well as in other characteristic food products) , which could implement a similar system of characterization of their varieties and origins and create a similar advisory tool. In addition, control authorities could use this tool tool to have indications of fraud or deception.
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