Extra virgin olive oil: A comprehensive review of efforts to ensure its authenticity, traceability, and safety.Compr Rev Food Sci Food Saf. 2022 05; 21(3):2639-2664.CR
The growing demand for extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), appreciated for its unique organoleptic properties and health benefits, has led to various fraudulent practices to maximize profits, including dilution with lower value edible oils. The adulterated oils would be of poor nutritional quality, more readily oxidized, and may contain unhealthy substances formed during processing. Nevertheless, the range of available techniques to detect fraud in EVOO production has been growing. Reliable markers of EVOO adulteration include fatty acids and minor components such as sterols, tocopherols, triterpene alcohols, phenolic compounds, phospholipids, volatile compounds, and pigments. Additionally, increasing consumer interest in high-quality EVOO has led to the development of robust scientific methods for its traceability. This review focuses on (i) the usefulness of certain compounds as markers of EVOO adulteration; (ii) the potential health risks of consuming adulterated EVOO; and (iii) reliable methods for the geographical traceability of olive oil. In conclusion, fraudulent production practices need to be detected to preserve the beneficial health effects of EVOO and to avoid the potential risks associated with ingesting substandard oil. In this work, as EVOO certification and regulatory framework limitations have already been extensively reviewed, we focus our attention on biomarkers that guarantee both the authenticity and traceability of oil, and consequently its health properties. When it is unavailable to obtain a high-resolution mass spectrometry full fingerprint, stigmastadienes and the sterolic profile are proposed as reliable markers.