After the meetings held on 16 and 17 October, the IOC experts in organoleptic assessment and harmonisation participated in a workshop on the organoleptic assessment method for virgin olive oils to which the representatives of the Advisory Committee of the IOC were invited. The IOC’s objective was to bring together industry and research to achieve a better understanding and closer collaboration on the issue of the organoleptic assessment method, an essential tool in the classification of virgin and extra virgin olive oils alongside the physico-chemical testing methods.
The IOC’s organoleptic assessment method was presented by Juan Ramón Izquierdo (Agri-food Laboratory of Madrid, Spain), while Mercedes Fernández, the Head of the IOC Research and Standardisation Unit, provided an overview of the provisional or definitive results of the working groups on the organoleptic assessment method for olive oils. Presentations were then given on the training of tasters, the accreditation of panels, reference material, statistics and arbitration (Luciana Di Giacinto, CREA-IT-CSA - Italy; Efi Christopoulou, ESVITE - Greece; Yolanda Avilés, Agri-food Laboratory of Cordoba – Spain; Denis Ollivier, Laboratory of Marseille - France; Andrea Giomo - Italy; Luis Guerrero, IRTA - Spain; Hermenegildo Cobo, SOIVRE - Spain). The representatives of the olive oil sector also shared their experiences; speakers included Andrea Carrassi (Director of Assitol) and Tullio Forcella (General Director of Federolio) for Italy; Abdelaziz Makhloufi (CEO of the CHO olive packing company and representative of the interprofessional chamber of olive oil exporters) for Tunisia; Mariana Matos (General Secretary of the Casa do Azeite) for Portugal; José Pont Amenos (Chairman of ASOLIVA) and Rafael Sanchez de Puerta (Chairman of the Spanish olive oil sector council) for Spain. A round table of all the speakers provided an opportunity for participants to ask questions and take part in a discussion on the challenges and the future of the organoleptic assessment method for olive oil, which was the specific subject of Wenceslao Moreda’s (Instituto de la Grasa, Spain) presentation. Other matters discussed were additional methods (Lanfranco Conte, University of Udine - Italy), the first results of the Oleum project (Tullia Gallina, University of Bologna - Italy, and Diego García González, Instituto de la Grasa - Spain), and sensory analysis in non IOC member countries (Jean-Xavier Guinard, UC Davis Olive Center - USA).
The IOC Executive Secretariat thanks all the speakers and the members of the IOC Advisory Committee on Olive Oil and Table Olives for their participation in this fascinating day, which seems to have marked the beginning of a new collaboration between industry and research.