Recenlty I sat down with Dr. Prokopios Magiatis to discuss his latest findings about the production and definition of high phenolic EVOO.
In the last few years, a new term, “High‐phenolic olive oil”, has appeared in scientific literature and in the market. However, there is no available definition of that term regarding the concentration limits of the phenolic ingredients of olive oil. For this purpose, we performed a large‐ scale screening and statistical evaluation of 5764 olive oil samples from Greece coming from >30 varieties for an eleven‐year period with precisely measured phenolic content by qNMR. Although there is a large variation among the different cultivars, the mean concentration of total phenolic content was 483 mg/kg. The maximum concentration recorded in Greece reached 4003 mg/kg. We also observed a statistically significant correlation of the phenolic content with the harvest period and we also identified varieties affording olive oils with higher phenolic content.
In addition, we performed a study of phenolic content loss during usual storage at an average temperature of 25°C and we found an average loss of 46% in 12 months. We propose that the term high‐phenolic should be used for olive oils with phenolic content >500 mg/kg that will be able to retain the health claim limit (250 mg/kg) for at least 12 months after bottling. The term exceptionally high phenolic olive oil should be used for olive oil with phenolic content >1200 mg/kg (top 5%).