Olive oil food service program (OL16004)
Status: Ongoing project
Key research provider: The Australian Nutrition Foundation, Victorian Division
What’s it all about? Previous industry research has indicated a lack of knowledge in the Australian food service sector about Australian extra virgin olive oil. Beginning in mid-2017, this project is responsible for:
- Developing a better understanding of the current use of olive oil in the food service sector, and of the trends that impact on olive oil consumption
- Then – the core activity – delivering education and training for trainee chefs and culinary school students about the attributes, benefits and uses of Australian extra virgin olive oil.
What’s the latest update? It is expected that the educational material for the food service sector will be produced in the first half of 2018 and rolled out over the course of the year, into 2019. Training will include face-to-face engagement with trainee chefs and culinary students, plus video resources, face sheets and a web page.
An overview of the project can be found in the first edition of R&D Insights, part of the Olive communication program (OL16006) described below.
Olive communication program (OL16006)
Status: Ongoing project
Key research providers: Cox Inall Communications and Australian Olive Association
What’s it all about? Beginning in mid-2017, this program is responsible for keeping Australian olive growers and other industry stakeholders informed about key industry issues and the latest R&D activities and results in a timely way. The ultimate goal is to facilitate the uptake of new information, technologies and practices – in turn helping growers forge more productive, profitable and resilient businesses.
What’s the latest update? The project continues to produce…
- Monthly e-newsletter Grove Innovation, capturing the latest in R&D and other important information and resources for growers.
- R&D Insights, a quarterly eight-page lift-out that is inserted into Olivegrower & Processor magazine and available digitally. It provides in-depth coverage of industry R&D projects, results and industry issues and information.
Sign up for the program’s e-newsletter via the Australian Olive Association here, and find digital copies of R&D Insights here.
Olive industry minor use program (OL16000)
Status: Ongoing project
Key research provider: Hort Innovation
What’s it all about? Through this project, levy funds and Australian Government contributions are used to renew and apply for new minor use permits for the olive industry. These submissions are prepared and submitted to the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA).
The minor use program is also supported by the project Generation of residue, efficacy and crop safety data for pesticide applications in horticulture crops 2017 (ST16006) which, as the name suggests, is responsible for generating data to support a range of permit applications for a range of industries. Project ST16006 uses grant funds from the Australian Government’s Agvet program, which you can read more about here, plus some levy contributions.
What’s the latest update? All current minor use permits for the industry are searchable at portal.apvma.gov.au/permits. Permit updates are also circulated in Hort Innovation’s Growing Innovation e-newsletter, which levy-paying members receive monthly. Not a member? Sign up to our membership program for free here.
National olive industry conference and trade exhibition (OL16010)
Status: Ongoing project
Key research provider: Australian Olive Association
What’s it all about? This project was established to facilitate the industry’s National Olive Industry Conference & Trade Exhibition in 2017, 2018 and 2019. This annual event is an opportunity for growers to come together to learn about the latest industry research, build networks and share information. The trade show component provides an opportunity for the exhibition of trade information and materials.
What’s the latest update? The 2017 National Olive Industry Conference & Trade Exhibition took place in October. Speaker presentations from the event remain available here.
Australian olive oil code of practice implementation (OL13007)
Status: Completed project
Key research provider: McFarlane Strategic Services
What was it about? As reported in the last edition if Hortlink, 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 has 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.”
The project’s final report will soon be available to order at www.horticulture.com.au/about/resources-publications-final-reports. Final reports are free to Australian horticulture levy payers, registered Hort Innovation members and industry representative bodies. Not a member? Sign up to our membership program for free here.
Hort Innovation is progressing discussions with the olive SIAP about potential new work in this space.
For more information about the Australian Olive Association’s Code of Practice, and guidance on its implementation, contact Code of Practice Administrator Peter McFarlane at the Australian Olive Association on 0418 839 836 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other R&D projects of note…
- Horticulture trade intelligence reporting 2017-2019 (MT16011), which is responsible for providing easy-to-read and easy-to-act-upon trade performance information to Australia’s horticulture industry. Quarterly olive reports are made available for download here, in the resources section of Hort Innovation’s Olive Fund page.
- Risk and crisis management planning for the olive industry (OL16011), an ongoing project that will develop and maintain the Australian olive industry’s risk management and crisis preparedness and response plan. It began in mid-2017 and will run into mid-2018, with an industry workshop most recently held in late November.
- International Olive Council Committee (OL15002), which will support Australian olive industry attendance at biannual International Olive Council chemists’ meetings (the next of which occurs in 2018). These meetings involve discussion on the technical analysis, grading and regulation of olive oil, among other things. Participation will help ensure Australian olive growers and other industry stakeholders are prepared for any changes to international regulations that may affect trade, and mean Australia’s accredited laboratories that certify domestic products can continue achieving international accreditations.
- Investigating olive oil quality improvement through filtration (OL16007), a short and now completed project that looked at the availability of technically and financially feasible options for removing any impurities that may be present in olive oil, including but not limited to filtration approaches. The project has revealed a number of avenues suitable for further investigation, including the use diatomaceous earth as an adsorbent, the use of ‘ultrasonication’, and the effects of carbon-based adsorbents on olive oil composition and traits.
- Processing water treatment options to improve olive oil quality (OL16008), another short project that has been looking at processes that can be used to remove or reduce levels of any impurities that may be present in water used for olive oil processing. The work is due to wrap up by the end of 2017.
- Olive industry pre-harvest water and oil quality testing (OL16005), which at the time of writing was concluding soon.