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Completed project

Australian olive oil code of practice implementation (OL13007)

Key research provider: McFarlane Strategic Services
Publication date: Tuesday, August 1, 2017

What was it about? 

This project set out to enhance consumer confidence in Australian olive products by…

  • Providing a formal mechanism for certification of Australian olive products in both domestic and export markets, through the Australian OliveCare Code of Practice set and maintained by the Australian Olive Association. This included registering seven certification trade marks for use by Code of Practice signatories (three for olive oil, one for table olives, two for flavoured olive oil and one for manufactured products containing olive oil).
  • Building olive industry skills and capacity through training programs. During its course, the project worked with River Murray Training (RMT) to develop a suite of e-learning modules for olive producer and for industry trainers, to build skills and facilitate implementation of the Code of Practice. Training topics included implementing a HACCP-style food safety/quality plan, export readiness, and sensory assessment for extra virgin olive oil and table olives.

Over the project’s three years, products were tested for chemistry, sensory properties and freshness under the OliveCare Code of Practice protocols. The team noted a “dramatic improvement” in the quality of imported oils – with 63 per cent in the last survey meeting quality requirements, compared to 73 per cent of Australian products – showing that the Australian industry “can’t afford to be complacent”.

Code of Practice Administrator, Peter McFarlane, told the industry’s levy-funded R&D Insights publication that “this may be because Spain and other European suppliers have low stocks so aren’t sending older oil to Australia, and possibly because we’ve put a lot of pressure on competitors with our consistently higher quality Australian EVOO products.”

He added that while consumers can be confident they’re getting premium quality Australian olive oil and value for money, local producers must pay increased attention to stock control, as 30 per cent of the EVOO tested was not as fresh as it could be (37.5 per cent of imported and 23 per cent of Australian products).

“We will work with those companies with failed products to identify causal factors and how to rectify them, as well as providing constructive feedback to other brand owners,” he said. “Producers and marketers also need to regularly test olive oil stocks for compliance, and ensure lot numbers and Best Before Date information is included on product labels.”

Related levy funds

978 0 7341 4447 8

Funding statement:
This project has been funded by Hort Innovation, using the olive research and development levy and contributions from the Australian Government. Hort Innovation is the grower‐owned, not‐for‐profit research and development corporation for Australian horticulture.