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First Application of Newly Developed FT-NIR Spectroscopic Methodology to Predict Authenticity of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Retail Products in the USA

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Economically motivated adulteration (EMA) of extra virgin olive oils (EVOO) has been a worldwide problem and a concern for government regulators for a long time. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is mandated to protect the US public against intentional adulteration of foods and has jurisdiction over deceptive label declarations. To detect EMA of olive oil and address food safety vulnerabilities, we used a previously developed rapid screening methodology to authenticate EVOO. For the first time, a recently developed FT-NIR spectroscopic methodology in conjunction with partial least squares analysis was applied to commercial products labeled EVOO purchased in College Park, MD, USA to rapidly predict whether they are authentic, potentially mixed with refined olive oil (RO) or other vegetable oil(s), or are of lower quality. Of the 88 commercial products labeled EVOO that were assessed according to published specified ranges, 33 (37.5%) satisfied the three published FT-NIR requirements identified for authentic EVOO products which included the purity test. This test was based on limits established for the contents of three potential adulterants, oils high in linoleic acid (OH-LNA), oils high in oleic acid (OH-OLA), palm olein (PO), and/or RO. The remaining 55 samples (62.5%) did not meet one or more of the criteria established for authentic EVOO. The breakdown of the 55 products was EVOO potentially mixed with OH-LNA (25.5%), OH-OLA (10.9%), PO (5.4%), RO (25.5%), or a combination of any of these four (32.7%). If assessments had been based strictly on whether the fatty acid composition was within the established ranges set by the International Olive Council (IOC), less than 10% would have been identified as non-EVOO. These findings are significant not only because they were consistent with previously published data based on the results of two sensory panels that were accredited by IOC but more importantly each measurement/analysis was accomplished in less than 5 min.

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Extra virgin olive oils


Fatty acid


Fourier transform near-infrared spectroscopy


Gas chromatography


Linoleic acid


Oils high in oleic acid


Oils high in linoleic acid


Oleic acid


Partial least squares


Palm olein


Refined olive oil


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Correspondence to Magdi M. Mossoba.

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Mossoba, M.M., Azizian, H., Fardin-Kia, A.R. et al. First Application of Newly Developed FT-NIR Spectroscopic Methodology to Predict Authenticity of Extra Virgin Olive Oil Retail Products in the USA. Lipids 52, 443–455 (2017).

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