NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) AgEnviro Labs Oil Testing Service in Wagga Wagga has achieved accreditation from the International Olive Council (IOC) for both organoleptic (sensory) and chemistry analysis of olive oil, enabling it to grant Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) status.
DPI AgEnviro Labs leader, Belinda Taylor, said the accreditation is valuable for supporting the Australian olive industry, as the only laboratory in Australasia with this accreditation.
“IOC accreditation recognises DPI’s AgEnviro Labs’ Oil Testing Service meets the international industry analysis benchmarks adopted by the IOC, which aim to regulate the quality, purity and authenticity of commercially available olive oils,” Taylor said. “With a tasting panel trained to IOC standards to undertake sensory analysis of olive oils, it means growers and olive oil exporters have access to an independent, local laboratory that is qualified to determine extra virgin status or if products meet export standards.
“The accreditation reinforces to producers, growers and olive oil exporters that the data extracted through the labs’ assessment is quality assured. DPI AgEnviro Labs are thrilled to be able to continue to support the Australian olive oil industry by offering both chemistry and sensory analysis of olive oil.”
Analysis of the chemical profile of the olive oil or olive fruit determines the quality of the product, while oils that undergo organoleptic, or sensory, assessment ensure the oil meets the EVOO standard requirements.
“Edible oils, olive fruit and oilseeds are unique products, with the quality influenced by a diverse range of factors including variety, fruit or oilseed maturity, harvest time, processing technology, grove management, climate and storage conditions,” Taylor said.
“Using their trained palate, the sensory analysis panel determines extra virgin status of olive oil through the assessment of the volatiles or faults of the oil, taking particular note of the odours emitted by the oil. Other defects analysed include the fustiness, evident by a swamp-like taste produced from over-fermented olives; mustiness which is the presence of mould growing on olives; and rancidity from old, oxidised olives. The most common fault identified during extra virgin evaluation is evidence of rancidity.”
NSW DPI AgEnviro Labs Oil Testing Service is also accredited by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA) and American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS). In addition, it is a reference laboratory for industry bodies including the Australian Oilseeds Federation (AOF) and the Australian Olive Association (AOA).
DPI AgEnviro Labs’ IOC accreditation is valid from 1 December 2021 to 30 November 2022.
Olive oil testing enquiries can be made by calling DPI AgEnviro Labs at Wagga Wagga on (02) 6938 1999. Further information on DPI AgEnviro Labs’ suite of testing services including soil health, water quality, plant nutrition and livestock feed quality, can be found by visiting www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/labs.