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Food Integrity Conference in Parma, Italy Highlights Olive Oil Fraud

Team TFS
Team TFS
shutterstock_348097892On May 10 and 11, 2017 I attended the Food Integrity conference in Parma, Italy. The two days were filled with informative presentations from attendees from around the world along with live demos and vendor booths. It was a great opportunity to learn about the current issues facing food integrity/authenticity and to network with key delegates.

Talks ranged from government agencies like EFSA, USP and FSA, FERA, and European universities, to food companies like Barilla and Illy. There were also talks from food consortiums like Oleum that are working to protect against olive oil fraud. Olive oil is one of the most adulterated food products on the market so this was a major concern in Europe. There were a few very interesting talks on the topic of olive oil authenticity and how to detect fraudulent products, one of which was given by a member of the Oleum consortium. The Oleum consortium is comprised of 20 partner organization, bringing together competences from food analysis, food legislation, industrial equipment engineering, bioinformatics, communication and knowledge exchange. The project is coordinated by Prof. Tullia Gallina Toschi of the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences of the University of Bologna, Italy. The goal of the Oleum Consortium is to develop new and improved existing analytical methods for detecting fraud and ensuring the quality of olive oil, and to improve technology sharing by establishing of a wide community of laboratories and institutions involved in quality control. Learn more about Oleum.

Recently Thermo Scientific had the honor of hosting live webinar with  two experts in the area of olive oil authenticity, Dr. Lanfranco Conte and Dr. Paolo Lucci from the University of Udine, Italy. The webinar highlighted the continuous efforts involved in the development of new and improved analytical methods able to detect emerging and sophisticated frauds.

The ∆ECN42 determination is one of the methods available used for the detection of small amounts of seed oil mixed with olive oil. However, from an analytical point of view, the use of refractive index detector for triglycerides analysis, which is recommended by European legislation and the IOC, prevents gradient elution separations, thus leading to incomplete TAGs resolution and overlapping peaks.

Over the past few years, charged aerosol detection has become a widely used technology in laboratories. The charged aerosol detector (CAD) generates a signal in direct proportion to the quantity of analytes present. Furthermore, it can be used with gradient elution, thus representing a potential alternative to refractive index detector.

In the present study, ultra high pressure liquid chromatography coupled with CAD detection was applied to the analysis of extra-virgin olive oil triglycerides. Different chromatographic separations under gradient elution were proposed and optimized using C30 and C18 reversed-phase columns. The performance of a CAD for trilinolein analysis was deeply investigated (linearity, LOD, LOQ, repeatability).

Finally, the proposed UHPLC-CAD methodology has also been applied to the determination of trilinolein and ∆ECN42 in extra virgin olive oil mixed in different proportions to simulate the adulteration of olive oil with high oleic sunflower oil, palm olein and a mix of them at different percentages of 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10%.

If you missed this interesting webinar you can now view it on demand.