Madrid - A meeting was held at IOC headquarters in Madrid with the recently-formed group of experts on the nutritional properties of olives and olive products. The group was comprised of Prof. Manuel Franco (University of Alcalá, Spain), Prof. Miguel Ángel Martínez González (University of Navarra, Spain) and Prof. Francesco Visioli (University of Padua, Italy). The aim of the group is to coordinate research in the sector, and to propose new research projects and events in order to foster and strengthen networks of academics working in the field.
The nutritional benefits of olive oil are one of the key factors driving olive oil consumption, especially in newer consumer countries where olive oil is often a lesser-known product. Scientific evidence has shown the positive properties of olive oil and how they have a hand in maintaining normal bodily functioning and in preventing a wide range of diseases.
The discussions focused on the need to conduct more interdisciplinary research into understanding the links between primary production and processing, olive and olive oil composition and the effect on human health. Collecting enough data on these three topics will improve knowledge about the benefits of olive oil consumption. For example, the official opinions given by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) are based on published scientific literature, which should prove beyond any doubt the causal link between a food product or a food component and their specific health benefits. Collaboration is therefore crucial to gathering enough data.
Following the meeting with Mercedes Fernández, head of the Standardisation and Research Unit, and Nicola Caporaso, head of the Chemistry and Standardisation Department, the experts met with the Executive Director Abdellatif Ghedira, who thanked them for their work. The experts were given an official certificate and a bottle of Mario Solinas Award-winning extra virgin olive oil.
The Executive Secretariat would like to thank the experts once again, and looks forward to collaborating further on research into the health properties of olives and olive oil.